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Green drive: Over a dozen electric SUVs set to hit the roads in 2023

NEW DELHI: From being seen as fuel guzzlers to turning into green crusaders — SUVs will turn a new leaf in 2023 as the macho wheels upgrade to electrics with the theme of sustainability taking centre stage in the auto industry which has long faced the wrath of environmentalists and activists for the growing pollution across cities.
While it will still be too early to see electrics build up large sales volumes immediately, directionally the industry — and even customers — seem to be warming up to the trend, especially as the charging infrastructure comes up across cities and highways.
With an over 40% contribution to industry sales in 2022 and a huge surge in demand, it will be SUVs once again that will dominate the new launches calendar in 2023.
While petrol and diesel will have their fair share of launches — including the much-awaited Suzuki Jimny; a possible Maruti Baleno crossover; and the mass-scale premium off-roader from Honda (competitor to Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos) — electrics is where the excitement and action would be.
Over a dozen electric SUVs are likely to hit the roads in the new year, in one of the biggest onslaughts by the green brigade in a single year. The line-up will be an exciting one, comprising beautiful and chic models such as the Hyundai Ioniq5, Volkswagen ID4 crossover, and the Skoda Enyaq. The cars will all come through the import route (to be priced upwards of Rs 35 lakh) and add up to the already impressive line-up of international models which are in the market such as the Kia EV6 and the e-trons from Audi.
On the luxury side, companies such as Mercedes is expected to continue its electric tirade after driving in the EQS green limousine and the EQB MPV last year. Audi, which has adopted electrics as a mainstay for its India strategy, will drive in the Q8 e-tron which will be costing under Rs 2 crore as the company further strengthens its green portfolio.
On the more accessible front, Mahindra & Mahindra will be an early starter to the launch party as the company drives in the XUV4OO electric that will take on Tata Nexon’s EV, which currently leads the electric market, with likely pricing upwards of Rs 15 lakh. For Mahindra, this will just be the beginning of its second coming in electrics as the company prepares to launch as many as five all-new electric SUVs (showcased in London on August 15, 2022), beginning 2024.
Tata Motors, which can easily take the credit for creating a sizeable electric car market in India, is believed to be working on a slew of cars for the new year, which may include a green version of the Punch mini-SUV and also of the Altroz hatch (to be priced in the Rs 10-20 lakh price bracket).
Tata is likely to unveil some more electrics at the Auto Expo at Greater Noida in January, which may include new avatar of the Sierra as an electric. The market is even abuzz with speculation that the company is working on an electric version of the Nano, though the company has not given any conformation so far.
MG Motors, which has had a fair amount of success with the ZS EV, will test waters with the unconventional-looking, two-door Air electric, that is likely to be priced upwards of Rs 10 lakh.
Another company that is looking to ride the electric bandwagon is Renault, which seems to be trying the Megane E-Tech green crossover for India. And electrics aside, there are also reports that the company may re-introduce the Duster in India, but it needs to be seen within it debuts in 2023, or goes out even further.
Volvo will also add the C40 Recharge coupe SUV to its portfolio in the new year, as it joins the XC Recharge in the green garage.
On the petrol/diesel front, Mahindra is expected to launch a five-door Thar in the market, building up on the strong start that the model received after the launch of the three-door version in October 2020. Japanese Nissan, which currently gather sales mainly from the Magnite mini SUV, is also expected to drive in the XTrail premium SUV.
There will also be upgrades to many models which include a facelift of Hyundai Verna, MG Hector, Honda City, and Kia Seltos.

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