The 16th edition of the Auto Expo 2023 was held at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh from Friday, January 13 2023 to January 18. After three-year hiatus, the first day of the event saw the unveiling of futuristic vehicles as automakers set their eyes on the Indian market.
Speaking at a symposium on the sidelines of the Auto Expo 2023, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri called on automakers to move from the prototype stage to the actual introduction of green vehicles in the market.
“Whether it is electric vehicles, hybrid models… I want to tell local and international manufacturers that the time has come. Please move from the prototype stage and start introducing the models in the market,” Mr. Puri said.
The minister said it was the dawn of the era of biofuels and other clean energy technologies. Mr. Puri used the opportunity to announce that India has brought forward its 20% ethanol blending target from 2030 to 2024/25. He also announced that the pilot E20 will soon be available at the pumps.
“As far as it relates to E20, we will roll it out soon. We brought forward the release three months earlier than the scheduled date of April 2023,” Puri said.
During the symposium, the Indian Automobile Manufacturers and the US Grains Council signed a memorandum of understanding for a clean energy partnership focused on ethanol technology knowledge transfer.
India’s first solar car Eva makes a public appearance
Vayve Mobility unveiled its first-ever solar car, Eva, at the Auto Expo 2023. The Pune-based electric vehicle startup has its eyes on urban commuters with the mini EV which has a seating capacity of 3 (2 adults and 1 child).
The single-door battery-powered car shares similarity with Tata Nano. Drivers can request a solar roof panel (sold separately) at the time of order. When the solar panel roof is installed, the car’s battery will recharge when it is parked in the open.
While the showcased model is only a prototype, Vayve Mobility is targeting early 2024 for commercial launch beginning with a rollout in Bangalore and Pune. Eva comes with a 6 kW liquid-cooled electric motor with a capacity of 16 horsepower and 40 Nm of peak torque.
The mini EV draws its power from a 14 kWh battery pack. The manufacturer claims the car can travel 143 miles (230 km) on a single charge and features an IP68-certified powertrain. In terms of infotainment, the car comes with a 15A socket for charging. Drivers will also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for connectivity.
Maruti Suzuki’s eVX concept was a stunner
One of the eye-grabbing revelations was Maruti Suzuki’s eVX concept. When the all-electric concept launches, it will be Suzuki’s first global EV. The electric SUV measures 4.3 meters in length and 1.8 meters in width with a height of 1.6 meters.
According to the manufacturer, the all-electric SUV will come with a 60 kWh battery which they believe should power the car through 342 miles (550 km) on a single charge.
Toyota bZ4X electric SUV
Toyota continues to make its intentions known with the new bZ4X electric SUV. The car which launched in May 2022 as a 2023 version has some impressive specs including a 72.8 kWh battery that can offer up to 250 miles in range on a single charge. It features an all-wheel-drive driver train that can deliver 214 hp.
The bZ in the name actually stands for “Beyond Zero” or beyond simply reducing carbon emission to zero. Its infotainment system is also fully packed including Toyota Safety Sense for safety, Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for connectivity, and a fixed panoramic sunroof that allows you to feel the surroundings.
Toyota bZ4X is expected to launch in India in April 2023. The company is set to rival other models from automakers like Mercedes GLA, Volvo XC60, and Jaguar XF.
Tata Motors showcases the sophistication of local manufacturers
Tata Motors also had a strong showing with its Sierra concept electric SUV. The pre-production concept has a futuristic design with a front light bar stretching across the edge of the trunk. It has a floating roof design that mimics certain models of the Range Rover.
The company also showcased the Avinya and Harrier EV concepts expected to hit the market in 2025 and 2024 respectively. While all the EV concepts showcased by Tata Motors have futuristic exterior and interior layouts, it is hard to tell how many of those design cues will make it to production.
MG Motors unveils the MG 4 EV
MG Motors didn’t want to be left behind in the EV revolution and seized the opportunity presented by the Auto Expo 2023 to unveil their MG 4 electric hatchback. Details from a credible source revealed that the electric hatchback was built on the modular scalable EV platform developed by SAIC, MG’s parent company.
When it is finally launched into the market, the MG 4 EV will be available in two trims; a 64 kWh battery and a smaller 51 kWh battery. The variant with the larger battery will have a range of up to 281 miles while the smaller battery trim will have a range of up to 218 miles on a single charge.
TVS iQube ST to launch in India soon
TVS made several alterations to the iQube electric scooter in 2022 and offered it in three variants; Standard, S, and ST. Although the Standard and S trims have been on sale, efforts by scooter fans to get the ST trim has been elusive. The iQube is already the highest-selling scooter in India.
The company finally showcased the iQube ST at the Auto Expo 2023 with a promise that it would soon be available in the market. While the ST shares a similar paint job with the other two variants, it comes with a bigger battery pack of 4.56 kWh compared to the 3.04 kWh in the other two variants.
The manufacturers claim the iQube ST can travel 90 miles in Eco mode and 68 miles in Power mode. It takes about 4 hours and 6 minutes to charge from 0 to 80% using the regular 950 W charger. However, with a fast charger that time drops to 2 hours and 30 minutes. It also comes with voice assistance.
TVS iQube ST can reach a top speed of 51 mph. Their electric motor has a maximum power output of 4.4 kW, although it is rated at 3 kW. Also, while the rated torque output is 33Nm, it can reach a peak of 140 Nm. The ST comes with a 17.78 cm touchscreen with an instrument cluster.
BYD, Kia EV9 concept, and Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 are some of the other EVs that were on display at the Auto Expo 2023. It is already primed to be an action-packed event and there is definitely more to look up to.