While we tend to focus on the needs of the American motor public here on Gas 2.0, the fact of the matter is there are two huge countries who are going to dominate the transportation equation in coming decades. I am referring of course to India and China. GM and Ford both already have their toes in the Chinese waters, posting impressive sales gains. But India is dominated by microcars and Tata, the largest domestic Indian automaker. GM and Ford need something big to break into the market… and by that I mean something very small.
To this end, GM is planning on introducing an all-electric version of its Spark — which will be coming to the US as a gas-powered car — to select Indian markets. But will the fiscally frugal country spend the extra rupees for an electric car?
Maruti-Suzuki recently announced an end to the production of the fabled 800, a microcar that was basic transportation just above scooters and mopeds. Today’s young Indians are looking for something upscale and high-tech, which the 800 was not. But are they looking for an electric car? Such a vehicle could be very important to India’s future fiscal strength. Will they become bogged down with oil as America has, or will they be willing embrace electric vehicles as a viable alternative? It is too early to tell.
While GM has announced which markets will see the electric Spark, one likely candidate is Mumbai (formerly Bombay). It is not only the richest Indian city, but also the most congested and populous so the Spark should do well there. It is being shopped around the world as a prime example of a GM global car. But does it have the reach to appeal to two vastly different cultures? Indians and Americans both have an affinity for technology, so the Spark could succeed on that front as it will be easier to order wired up for things like iPods and such. But for the Spark to truly succeed, the Indian government will have to start making serious efforts to implement a charging infrastructure. What good is an electric car if you can’t get it charged?
Source: Green Car Advisor | Image: GM