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Shifting to BS VI higher priority for Mercedes: Roland Folger

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German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has backed the government’s vehicular emission control plan, saying upgrading automobiles to BS VI emission standards and pushing for more electric vehicles are the only ways to address India’s air pollution concerns.

The endorsement by Mercedes-Benz India managing director Roland Folger comes at a time when carmakers in the Indian market are worried over the higher levies imposed on hybrid vehicles under the soon-to-be-implemented goods & services tax (GST). 

Under GST, hybrid vehicles will attract total levies of 43 per cent (28 per cent tax, 15 per cent cess), more than smaller petrol and even diesel vehicles which would attract levies in the range of 29 per cent and 31 per cent. In comparison, pure electric vehicles have been bracketed in the 12 per cent tax slab. In an exclusive interaction with The Economic Times, Folger said upgrading to Bharat Stage VI norms is a higher priority for the company than bringing in hybrid vehicles. 

“For us, the priority is higher in getting from BS IV to BS VI than in just adding hybrids. NOX emissions will reduce by 80 per cent once we move to BS VI. You cannot achieve that with normal hybrids,” Folger said, adding that even for bringing in plug-in hybrid vehicles, the company would require fuel for BS VI technology. Folger, however, said that to effectively reduce vehicular emissions, electric technology is the way forward, although the solutions are far from being simplistic in view of the infrastructural challenges in the country. 

“If you really want to address air pollution concerns, electric is the only solution…You need to shape a comprehensive and sustainable electric vehicle policy,” said Folger.

Posted by Maye Rosales on 30th May 2017