The battle for India’s lithium-ion battery powered electric vehicle market is on, with Hyundai plotting the first moves. 

According to the Hindustan Times, Hyundai is making moves to become a mass-market player in India — the market currently locked up by Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, together with Tata.

But Hyundai is now supposedly in talks to develop an ecosystem within Europe for lithium-ion powered electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing in the country.

Hyundai is the first company within India to offer a long-range battery model, the Kona — which gets 452km on a single charge from a lithium-ion battery, but is assembled from parts imported from South Korea.

“After launching the Kona EV, we are studying various options,” Kim said. “Our initial study suggests that instead of introducing more global products, we should have an India-specific EV platform and that will be mass market. So, we are working on development of those vehicles now,” Hyundai’s CEO in India, Seon Seob Kim, said according to the newspaper.

“It is at a very early stage. If we come up with a great solution to the industry and market, we can expect huge volumes with mass-market EVs as well.”  

While India has been slow off the mark on adoption of electric vehicles, it is starting to make early moves to make EV adoption possible.

READ: India to remove rego for electric vehicles

In her maiden budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced income tax rebates of up to Rs.1.5 lakh ($A3156) to EV buyers on interest paid on loans to buy electric vehicles, with a total exemption benefit of Rs.2.5 lakh over the entire loan period. 

The minister also announced customs duty exemption on lithium-ion cells to lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries in India as they are not produced locally. 

Makers of components, such as solar electric charging infrastructure and lithium storage batteries, will be offered investment-linked income tax exemptions.

Kim said producing mass market vehicles at affordable prices would be unviable without localisation of major parts and components — leading to the speculation that Hyundai could increase its presence in the country.

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