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India: Auto Expo 2012: Mahindra showcases electric cars amid Green glitz at the show

NEW DELHI: Music blared and white smoke swirled in the cavernous Tata Motors hall at the India Auto Expo as an excited crowd milled near a stage displaying the company’s new hybrid car.

Most, though, were craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the carmaker’s new gas-guzzling Safari off-roader being launched on the other side of the hall. Few seemed to notice the sparkling green-technology vehicle behind them.

Billed as an event to showcase new environmentally friendly vehicles entering India’s auto market, about a dozen new hybrid, electric or alternative-fuel vehicles from global and domestic carmakers will debut at the bi-annual expo.

But for all the green glitz, most of these cars, trucks and buses are decades away from gracing India’s roads, executives say. Blame a cost-sensitive market, a lack of on-the-ground support infrastructure, and little or no government support.

“India is very far away from using this sort of technology,” said Kou Kimura, chief executive and managing director of Nissan-Renault India.

“It’s expensive, and needs both government support and the necessary infrastructure to be possible.”


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