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Auto expo bets big on innovation

New Delhi, Jan. 2: The upcoming auto expo is just not about small cars — electric cars, hybrids and two-wheelers will also have a fair share of display.

US-based General Motors is set to unveil its hybrid, the Volt. The car has a 1.0-litre petrol engine combined with a battery E-flex system.

The Spark Electric, a collaboration between REVA and GM India, will also be showcased at the auto show.

Japan’s Toyota will display its environment-friendly concept and hybrid models.

“The auto expo in Delhi is the most ideal platform in India to highlight our new product range that will showcase Toyota’s technological advancement and innovation,” said Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director (marketing) of Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

Not to be left behind is Hyundai Motors India. The Korean car maker will unveil the electric version of its popular compact car — the i10 — which made its world debut in October 2007.

As part of its initiative to promote eco-friendly vehicles, Hyundai Motors has introduced the CNG and LPG versions of the Santro, the Accent and the i10 in India.

Hyundai’s CR-Z Concept 2009 — a concept model for a new hybrid that was unveiled for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show in October last year — will also grace the stage.

In two-wheelers, the products of Emmel Vheelers will be a major attraction.

A range of vehicles from Emmel — a hybrid three-wheeler, e-motorcycle, high-power scooters, and electric scooters such as Vee Elite, Vee Sharp and Vee Dhoom — are the ones to watch out for.

Set up in 2008, Emmel Vheelers has a manufacturing unit at Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra with a capacity of 3,000 units a month.

“The market for electric two-wheelers is picking up. In the last month, around 3,500 units were sold. Last year, around 40,000 electric vehicles were sold against a market expectation of one lakh. This was because of recession. But now the market is picking up,” Manoj Laxmeshwar, president of Emmel Vheelers, said.

The market for electric two-wheelers is estimated at Rs 400 crore with around 3 lakh vehicles on road. Several players in the segment have lined up expansion plans.

Tube Investments of India Ltd, part of the Murugappa Group, has set up an electric scooter plant in Chennai to produce 100 units per day.

Two-wheeler maker Hero Electric recently said it planned to assemble e-scooters in foreign markets in tie-ups with local players and might enter into agreements in the next one year. The company has also tied up with Canada’s Electrovaya to manufacture lithium ion batteries.

Bangalore-based Eko Vehicles has launched a hybrid motorcycle that has a mix of an electric motor and a 70cc petrol engine. The company has plans to launch an electric scooter.

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