Race for electric vehicles: India plans to ramp up incentives

 The year is 2023. A Singapore resident decides to buy a car. Not just any car but the latest electric vehicle (EV) produced by the new gleaming high-tech Hyundai factory in Jurong, an industrial town in Western Singapore. She whips up her smartphone and personalises her new car.

She surmises that cream colour seats, a shocking pink exterior coat plus the performance model which can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 3 seconds would be nice and proceeds to make payment using her bitcoin account. The next day, she heads out to Jurong to watch the factory put the final touches on her brand-new ride and proudly drives her car to show off to her friends at Marina Bay Sands.

This may sound a little like fantasy, but it could materialise in the near future.

Last week, it was reported by Reuters that the Indian government is planning to ramp up incentives to spur electric car manufacturing investments in the country with the aim of catching up with leading EV producing nations.

Interestingly, it is facing an unlikely competitor in Singapore which has not made an automobile since 1980. Singapore announced last October that Hyundai will be investing USD300 million in a futuristic and highly automated electric car factory in Singapore. It is by no means the first company the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has courted to make cars on the island state.

Back in September 2017, Dyson, the British company famous for its bladeless fans and hairdryers announced that it was building a USD3.2 billion plant to make electric cars in Singapore. However, they shelved the plan in October 2019 after deciding that the project would not be “commercially viable”.

Singapore exited automobile manufacturing over 40 years ago because Singapore was getting too expensive for the mass manufacturing of cars. However, because electric cars have far fewer moving parts and components compared with its internal combustion engine cousins, and uses the latest electronics technology where Singapore has an edge, it sees a future in making such cars.

The models to be made are reported to be the Ioniq 5, a mid-sized electric crossover based on the Hyundai Concept 45 and yet-to-be launchedIoniq 3 electric compact crossover.