January 10, 2012

New wheels on hybrid technology at the Delhi Auto Expo 2012

In the backdrop of spiraling fuel prices and escalating environmental concerns, vehicles driven on hybrid or green technology have emerged to be the focal point at the 11th Auto Expo 2012. This edition of Auto Expo clearly gives a preview of how well, the Automobile
Industry across the world identifies this problem and puts up a solution. The concept of Hybrid cars is creating a new wave at the exposition with manufacturers unleashing a bevy of hybrid concepts and technologies.

Major attractions at the Auto Expo include the world's largest-selling electric car Leaf from Nissan, and Volkswagen’s ‘XL1' concept that comes with a 0.8-litre engine giving 48 PS of power. The potential of hybrid and electric propulsion technology as an alternative to main stream internal combustion engine (ICE) has been effectively utilised by French automaker Peugot  SA, by unveiling its hybrid 3008. Volvo is showcasing its hybrid bus and is keen on introducing them on Indian roads for inter-city transport.

Not the ones to be left behind are the Indian manufacturers Mahindra and Mahindra with an array of Reva electric cars, Tata’s Manza as also Sweden’s Volvo with its hybrid buses. India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp is also showing its first concept hybrid scooter, as the hybrid concept successfully forayed into the two wheeler segment.

The Hybrid concept, although prevalent in the overseas since the latter half of the nineties when Japanese manufacturers Toyota came up with Prius and later Honda used the concept for Insight, has reached the Indian shores only recently, which is a bit surprising, considering its significance in the Indian market.
Clearly, the auto makers are betting big on the eco-friendly vehicles and their fervor was obvious in the conference 'Hybrid/Electric Mobility - Drive of the Change' organised by the SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) on the sidelines of the exposition. While addressing the conference, Sundareshan opined, “I believe with National Council on Electric Mobility in place as an apex structure to promote hybrid and electrical mobility in the country, this sector is set to grow in a more concerted and time bound fashion.”

The Hybrid concept is basically an electric vehicle which combines ICE with an electric propulsion system aimed at creating low fuel combustion while enhancing the prospects of a smooth drive. The Modern hybrid vehicles are even more unique with an improved technology of regenerative braking, which converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electrical energy, thus saving by itself the time required to charge the battery.  
The hybrid technology clearly spells a new change in the Indian Automobiles though it remains to be seen if the industry can invest in building power and charging infrastructure to facilitate its adoption by the consumers.


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