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Special Feature

Published on: Jan. 25, 2023, 3:30 p.m.
Auto Expo 2023: Green show
  • Maruti’s entry into EV - eVX

By S.M. Boothem

The prestigious Auto Expo 2023 was held between 13-18 January 2023 at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida after 3 years due to the pandemic. Organised by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) with support from the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), this year was themed: ‘Explore the world of mobility, in sync with the industry’s vision of moving towards green mobility’. This edition showcased the most advanced product line-up in terms of technology, safety, and futuristic design. Electric vehicles across all segments were the highlight of the show. This clearly indicates that the automotive industry is ready to move forward. 

Many notable automotive players did not participate – Mahindra & Mahindra, Volkswagen, Škoda, Honda Cars, Nissan, Renault, as well as all the luxury car makers, and in two-wheelers Hero MotoCorp, Royal Enfield, Honda Motorcycle, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor. Despite the long list of missing players, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Hyundai, MG Motor, Kia, BYD and Toyota stepped in to support the show. Three carmakers – Maruti, Tata and MG – showcased the maximum number of products. In addition, there were various electric vehicle (EVs) manufacturers who participated and displayed their products. 

After recovering from Covid-19, the entire automotive industry delivered decent sales numbers in calendar year 2022. According to SIAM reports, the industry produced 2,58,51,004 units in terms of passenger vehicles (PVs), commercial vehicles (CVs), three-wheelers and two-wheelers from January-December 2022. Domestic sales of PVs amounted to 37,92,356 units; CVs recorded 9,33,116 units and three-wheeler & two-wheeler sales were 4,18,341 and 1,56,07,991 units respectively. 

Cars make a grand show

Maruti Suzuki India, continuing its commitment towards sustainable motoring premiered a global concept electric SUV, eVX. The eVX is a midsize electric SUV designed and developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan, offering futuristic SUV design elements with an upright posture and commanding high-seating. The eVX will be powered by a 60kWh battery pack offering up to 550km of driving range.

Further strengthening its SUV line-up after the success of the Grand Vitara, the carmaker unveiled two new SUVs – Fronx and Jimny, appealing to both SUV lovers as well as off-roaders. The Jimny which was originally launched in global markets in 1970, has been breaking stereotypes the world over thanks to its unique design and all-terrain capability. 

Tata Motors showcased a wide range of vehicles. The company aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 for the passenger vehicle business. It presented a variety of PVs and concepts for personal mobility, including Sierra EV and Harrier SUV EV. The Avinya concept made its debut at the show as well as the ICE version of the Concept Curvv. In recent times, the carmaker has been aggressive in introducing the CNG versions of its vehicles and it put on display its two existing models – Altroz iCNG and Punch iCNG.  Altroz Racer and Tiago EV were the two other attractions. 

MG Motor unveiled a line-up of 14 production-ready vehicles from its portfolio, among them the MG4, a pure-electric hatchback EV, and the MG EHS, a plug-in hybrid SUV. Ever since the ZS EV was first introduced in India in 2020, the car has positively impacted the environment. So far, it has prevented around 70 lakh kilograms of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of planting more than 42,000 trees. MG also displayed the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell MPV – EUNIQ 7 – as part of its new energy vehicles (NEVs) with its third-generation hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

  • MG’s EV hatchback - MG4

Hyundai Motor India launched IONIQ 5, the Korean carmaker’s first dedicated EV model. The Hyundai IONIQ 5 has been launched in India on the underpinnings of the E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) that the company says will pave the way for a ‘new era of electric mobility lifestyle’ and has been anchored on the pillars of ‘modularity, performance, reliability and usability’. 

 Kia India unveiled its all-electric SUV Concept – the EV9 – highlighting its vision of becoming a sustainable mobility solutions provider. Kia also showcased the Kia KA4, a luxury RV (recreational vehicle). The company announced a further investment of R2,000 crore in India for EV-related R&D, manufacturing, and infrastructure development. The brand also announced its entry into the Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs) segment. The PBVs showcased at the pavilion were a police van and an ambulance based on the Carens. 

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) displayed its exciting range of products and new technologies aimed at meeting the aspirations and evolving needs of customers and delivering ‘Mass Happiness to All’. Based on the theme of the ‘Thrill and Joy of Moving Together’, the Toyota stall conceptualised three distinctive themes; Technology Zone, Emotional Zone & Sustainability Zone. The Japanese carmaker displayed its models, including the Innova HyCross, Urban Cruiser HyRyder, the Vellfire and the Camry Hybrid.  

Lexus India unveiled the all-new Lexus RX. The fifth-generation RX has undergone a complete regeneration and is available in two powertrains – the RX350h Luxury Hybrid and the RX500h F sport performance. One of these should satisfy the discerning Lexus customer.

BYD India unveiled its luxury electric sedan BYD Seal and launched its limited edition BYD ATTO 3.

Two and three-wheelers

Greaves Cotton showcased its EV line-up at the auto show.  Since its foray into sustainable mobility, the company has committed a capital investment of Rs1,500 crore to boost India’s EV ecosystem. The products put on display by the company were its two-wheeler models – Ampere Primus, NXG and NXU and three-wheeler models – ELP, the passenger e3w, ELC, the cargo e3w and Aero Vision, a futuristic cargo concept vehicle.

Electric Mobility continues to see steep growth on the back of a collective global response to the climate crisis caused by fossil fuel use. Greaves Cotton has delivered a real impact on the sustainability front by helping save over 35 million litres of fuel through 1.3 billion + electric kilometres driven by the company’s customers.

Omega Seiki Mobility launched the SCV OSM M1KA 1.0. It is a four-wheel small commercial vehicle one-ton truck with a range of 200 kms. The M1KA can be used for multiple applications including courier, goods distribution and e-commerce. The Muse and Kraze, are the other two electric passenger vehicles with 150 kms range.

  • Tata’s concept Curvv

Jupiter Electric Mobility (JEM), the commercial electric vehicle arm of Jupiter Wagons Ltd (JWL) unveiled e-LCVs – the 2.2-ton JEM TEZ and the 7-ton EV STAR CC GVW. The e-LCVs will cater mainly to the needs of last mile delivery. Godawari Electric announced its foray into the EV retail space and launched its electric auto (L5M), Eblu Rozee and unisex electric bicycle Eblu Spin.

Commercial vehicles

Tata Motor commercial vehicles (CVs) unveiled 14 exclusive vehicles and concepts representing some of India’s greenest, smartest, and most advanced range of logistics and mass mobility solutions. Its goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 for the CVs business. These vehicles are offered across CV segments, powered by natural gas, electric and hydrogen. They included the Starbus Fuel cell EV-Hydrogen fuel cell bus for commercial applications; the Prima E.55S – a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Tractor concept and the Prima H.55S hydrogen ICE-powered concept truck.

Tata Motors also unveiled the Signa truck (28 to 55 T range) which has a new generation and modern cabin; the Azura (7 to 19 T range); the Ultra E.9 truck; the 10-seater Magic EV (for last-mile passenger transport), and the Prima E.28K – a zero emission versatile tipper concept for mining and closed loop applications. Also put on display were the Ace EV Zero emission last mile distribution small commercial vehicle and the Starbus EV (for urban public transport).  

Ashok Leyland showcased a variety of advanced mobility solutions –a Battery Electric Vehicle, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicle, Liquefied Natural Gas Vehicle, Intercity CNG Bus and a mini passenger bus. With 75 years of experience Ashok Leyland plans to expand product lines and its presence in the fast-increasing alternate fuel segment. 

JBM Auto unveiled its in-house designed and manufactured electric luxury coach – JBM Galaxy. The company has also showcased 3 new products in its electric bus series that cater to diverse platforms like city, staff and school segments. These new launches will further bolster JBM Group’s vision of making India the EV capital of the world. With over 1,000 JBM electric buses plying in over 12 states pan India, the company has clocked 50+ million e-km having served over 100 million passengers to date.

VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) unveiled a range of future-ready mobility solutions from the Eicher and Volvo brands. Under the banner of VECV, the company showcased its expanded EV and Natural Gas portfolio. The Eicher brand unveiled India’s longest 13.5 m electric Intercity Coach and the Eicher Pro 2049 electric 4.9 T GVW truck.  Also on display was the Eicher Pro 8055 LNG/CNG truck designed specifically for meeting the needs for clean transport in long-haul applications.

Volvo Trucks showcased the Volvo FM LNG 420 4x2 Tractor which is undergoing extensive trials with leading e-commerce operators in long-haul hub-to-hub operations. Volvo Buses presented its 15m Volvo 9600 luxury coach. Built on the internationally acclaimed Volvo 9600 platform the coach offers First Class luxury seating for an exclusive travel experience.

  • Hyundai IONIQ5

The Rest

Apart from cars, bikes and commercial vehicles, other players connected with the automotive industry participated in the show and displayed their products, technologies and mobility solutions.

The Cummins Group in India unveiled the commercial vehicle industry’s first fuel-agnostic platform and its diversified range of hydrogen technologies power solutions at the show.  

Sun Mobility, the provider of universal energy infrastructure and services for electric vehicles, launched SwapX, a sleek and compact, fully automated battery-swapping solution that it says will reimagine the future of Urban Electric Mobility. The company also launched its next generation battery pack – S2.1, offering a higher battery power with 45 per cent more range. SwapX is a plug-and-play battery-swapping solution that caters to a mass customer base, especially small and medium businesses like pharmacy chains, and department stores to set up and manage swap points from the convenience of their stores. The solution offered in a franchisee model will address concerns of lack of infrastructure and long charging or waiting time by increasing network density and will encourage mass-scale adoption of EVs.

Strengthening bilateral ties between Brazil and India for the promotion of ethanol and its blends in the automotive sector, Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister, Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing & Urban Affairs, launched the Virtual Centre of Excellence (CoE), developed by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Brazil is one of the largest producers of ethanol in the world and is home to the world’s largest fleet of cars that use ethanol as fuel. India also has a strong focus on biofuels and has brought forward by 5 years, to 2025, the goal of achieving a 20 per cent ethanol blend in petrol. India is the second largest sugar producer in the world, after Brazil, and has the potential to convert surplus sugar stocks into ethanol.

The Motor show 2023 successfully concluded on 18 January and saw a turnout of 6,36,743 visitors, which is the highest-ever at the Auto Expo. “The entire show revolved around sustainable mobility and decarbonisation with a thrust on 5 specific initiatives namely ‘Surakshit Safar’, focusing on road safety; ‘Jaivik Pahal’ for the promotion of bio-fuel vehicles; ‘Vidyutikaran’, focusing on electrification of vehicles; ‘Chakriyata’, focusing on the recycling of vehicles and ‘Gas Gatishilta’, focusing on gas mobility,” said Vinod Aggarwal, President SIAM about India’s vision for future mobility.

  • ACMA technology pavilion

Back in business

The Auto Expo Components Show attracted a major crowd

The 16th edition of the Auto Expo-2023 Components Show, jointly organised by The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), the apex body of the Indian auto component industry, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), was held between 12-15 January 2023 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Themed 'Technovation - Global Platform for Future Technologies & Innovations for Automotive Industry’. 

The over 800 manufacturers comprising ACMA’s members contribute to more than 85 per cent of the auto component industry’s turnover in the organised sector. The industry is also one of the key drivers of India’s economic growth. The sales of vehicles across all segments are picking up due to supply chain management growth. The positive momentum in the automotive industry is reflected in the component manufacturers as they gear up to supply parts to the OEMs. 

The 1,400-plus new products on display at the show were a special attraction, reaffirming the industry’s commitment to India’s plan for a transformation to a sustainable and green future mobility. Some of the innovations and futuristic products on display at the Components Show included Low Weight Tailgate and Sunroof, Tyre Changing Attachment for EVs, Energy Efficient Power Control Units, Nano-Catalyst for Coating CDPF, Friction Motor Cooling System, Semi-Solid Li-Ion Cell, Digital Twin Benchmarking, Delta Costing and Iceberg 3.0, PVC Fabric Tarpaulin and LSR Components for EVs.

The component show created a lot of excitement amongst the visitors, who were busy with business meetings, networking, and forming new partnerships with Indian and global players present at the show.  Powering India’s growth engine, the Components Show, marked the beginning of a new era, full of opportunities to innovate to ‘Make in India’ for the world.  The Indian auto component industry is on a robust path, with a strong rebound in almost all segments.  

“The Auto Expo Components has grown to be a major event showcasing India’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities. The 16th Auto Expo 2023-Component highlights the shift in automotive trends towards clean technology, software, connected, autonomous and shared mobility and electrification. It is the largest show for the auto component industry in the country, highlighting new technologies, research & development, indigenous solutions, sustainable and responsible manufacturing, and more. Visitors were excited to see advanced and innovative technology solutions for safer driving, which is expected to become increasingly important in the future. The show demonstrates the confidence and readiness of the Indian auto component industry for the future of mobility,” said Sunjay Kapur, President, ACMA on the success of the event.

Another attraction at the Components show was the ACMA technology pavilion. The ACMA ‘Technovation’ features cutting-edge solutions like Integrated Motor Controller Module for predictive active suspension, Quad Zone Climate Control HVAC for individual temperature settings, and Electronic Differential Locks for safer handling and driving under slippery road conditions. Some of them include components for EVs, charging stations, and power management systems, to name a few. More than 25 component companies took part in the Technovation pavilion and displayed their products. 

Among the many exhibitors, a few prominent companies showcased their products and technology for visitors from India and abroad, including Anand Group, Paracoat Products Ltd, Stanadyne, Elofic Industries, Pricol, Endurance, Roots, Varroc, Shriram Pistons, Sunflag Iron, Talbros, Tata Automotive, Uno Minda, Kalyani Forge, Lumax, Valeo and Setco Auto to name a few. 

There were 800-plus exhibitors from 15 countries with six country pavilions including France, Germany, Japan, Poland South Korea, and the UK. The component show concluded successfully on 15 January with the largest ever footfall of 1,22,500 business delegates from 65 countries.

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