The other day I was writing about how Honda and GM are working together to make two new electric vehicles and the realization struck- we in India are not doing nearly enough! There have been promising developments in the electric two-wheeler segment but cars, for a variety of reasons, have been neglected. This is surprising as there are every indication and more of an oncoming electric future. Even the Indian government has been vocal about their intention to go fully electric by (an ambitions date of) 2030.
Foreign manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai, with their global demand, can gradually (but surely) adapt to this future. However, if India needs to be at the forefront of an electric revolution, she needs to think fast and think big. This includes urging existing companies’ to develop efficient electric platforms, allowing manufacturing facilities to be set-up, paving way for new companies but above all, fast-tracking Automotive 2.0.
Among existing Indian brands, only Tata Motors has shown some promise. Mahindra has experience in electric racing circuits which can be a good start. The rest, including Maruti Suzuki, seem to be confused about the impending shift.
The onslaught of Tesla in the USA showed us just how disruptive electric vehicles are. Things can change in an instant and this is what new or smaller companies should exploit.
In this article, I bring to attention two brands- Premier and Force Motors, that need to embrace this electric future. They are neither mainstream nor have shown any interest in electric vehicles till now. However, they are currently my top picks for Indian companies that I think should electrify.
In the world of Indian Automobiles, Premier doesn’t need any introduction. It was one of the most decorated manufacturers of the 20th century- giving us icons such as the Padmini and 118NE. However, fate had a different story in store for this beloved company, and after a slew of failed products, they filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
Will Premier come back? Would there be anyone adventurous enough to buy out the firm or at least its name? It’s hard to say. However, like the hummer for GM, one fact remains clear- it should return as an electric. Their cars should be at entry-level, with adequate range, targeting urban customers, and most definitely a hatchback.
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I would love to see a bigger manufacturer buying ‘Premier’ and building a specific electric division around it!
Force is another manufacturer that I believe would do well in the electric automobiles business. Their presence in the passenger vehicle segment is small but significant (read Gurkha). The manufacturer has been constantly posting increasing sales but this is not be enough for a dramatic shift to electric vehicles.
Force can go the Rivian route by attracting investors to their ‘electric’ passenger vehicles. This is possible, as the latter already has $3 billion worth without even having a single car on the road. Force Motors already has component tie-ups with Daimler, BMW, and other major European manufacturers, so getting investor’s confidence in their new business model might not be TOO hard.
Similar to Rivian, Force Electric should be eying the electric utility vehicle segment- which is also their niche in the first place. The Gurkha already attracts a lot of attention but for some reason lacks that end-selling-proposition. Going electric would give exactly that!
What do you think? Would you be interested in electric vehicles from Premier or Force Motors? Comment below:
1953 Abarth Sport 1100 by Ghia. Photos by Angus McKenzie