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    Hyundai tempers Kona sales expectations, to develop mass-market electric car

    Hyundai tempers Kona sales expectations, to develop mass-market electric car

    Hyundai tempers Kona sales expectations, to develop mass-market electric car
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    By Jude Sannith   IST (Published)

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    When Hyundai Motor India launched India’s first long-range electric SUV barely a week ago, there was understandable fanfare surrounding Hyundai Kona. But a price tag of Rs 25.3 lakh had several experts wondering how saleable the car would be — even in an era of increased focus on electric mobility.

    When Hyundai Motor India launched India’s first long-range electric SUV barely a week ago, there was understandable fanfare surrounding Hyundai Kona. But a price tag of Rs 25.3 lakh had several experts wondering how saleable the car would be — even in an era of increased focus on electric mobility.
    Hyundai, to its own surprise, has now announced that Kona saw 120 bookings within the first 15 days of its launch. But the South Korean auto-maker is not getting carried away, choosing to temper expectations. “When we introduced Kona in the Indian market, we weren’t targeting huge volumes. The segment we were targeting was niche, but the initial response from the market was positive,” said newly appointed managing director of Hyundai Motor India, Seon Seob Kim.
    Responding to a question by CNBC-TV18.com on how many units of the Kona the company plans to sell every year, Kim said: “Considering the niche target audience, that number would be in the hundreds, per year.”
    Kim said in Chennai that the company was also in the process of making a mass-market electric car for Indian customers. “I personally think that the starting point for mass market electric vehicles in India will be in three or four years,” he said. “We are planning and preparing a vehicle for that situation. However, Kona will continue to remain a niche product.”
    The Hyundai Motor India official ruled out any possibility of revising the price of Kona. “The price of electric vehicles is being determined by the price of lithium ion batteries,” he said, “If we have an innovation that brings down the cost of these batteries, we could look to reduce the price of Kona. But it will not happen overnight.”
    Most automakers have expressed concern at charging infrastructure in India not being where it ought to be. “Electric mobility in India is still at an early stage, especially with less than 1000 charging stations, which is too small a number for the size and population of the country,” said Kim.
    “If the government were to support electric mobility more, it would mark the start of a strong market for electric vehicles in India. But that will happen only in the next three or four years,” he added.
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