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Government tender for electric cars revised to include more companies

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-09-2017 Shally Seth Mohile

Mumbai: The government has revised its tender seeking to buy electric cars for the use of the state, following objections by some companies that the specifications initially put out were tailored to suit a certain manufacturer.

Specifically, the state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), which is buying 10,000 electric cars, has done away with the requirement that these have to be sedans, according to the revised document available on its website.

The revised specifications also include safety features.

The agency has extended the last date for submitting the online bids by a few days to 28 September.

The changes will likely increase participation because more manufacturers are now keen on the bid, Saurabh Kumar, managing director at EESL, said in an interview on Monday. “There’s a lot of interest; we wanted to make sure that we do whatever possible to get more people to participate.”

On 15 August, EESL, a joint venture between the ministry of power, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, and state-owned companies NTPC Ltd, Rural Electrification Corp., Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd, and Power Finance Corp., floated a tender for the procurement of 10,000 electric sedans including complete system warranty under the faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles in India (FAME) scheme of the ministry of new and renewable energy.

The tender is part of the government’s plan to promote electric vehicles in the country in a big way.

In April, the then new and renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal had said that India would sell only electric vehicles by 2030.

The revised specifications will help Tata Motors Ltd which can pitch the Nano for the bid.

According to a person aware of company’s plans, the Mumbai-based firm has been “extensively testing the Nano”. A Tata Motors spokesperson declined comment. On 8 September, Tata Motors European Technical Centre Plc (TMETC) unveiled the electric concept of its hatchback Tiago.

While most of the other auto makers including market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd are looking to ride on the opportunity, there aren’t too many details available about their plans.

Spokespersons at Nissan and Maruti declined comment. A spokesperson at Mahindra, the only maker of electric cars in the country, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Puneet Gupta, associate director, I.H.S Markit, a sales forecasting and research firm, said the government tender is a good starting point in the country’s electric mobility mission.

“It will offer the much needed initial spark,” Gupta said, adding that this has prompted global carmakers who had no plans to bring electric vehicles to India till three months back to start considering India as a market for electric vehicles.

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