With petrol prices shooting up and environment pollution becoming a major concern, hybrid cars and those powered by electric engines are in the spotlight at the Auto Expo 2012. Though there is still time before the automakers make these “sustainable mobility solutions” available commercially, they know that the future belongs to “greener” and fuel-efficient vehicles.

At the Auto Expo 2012, almost all major carmakers have showcased their hybrid vehicles or those running with “greener” fuels like CNG and LPG. New entrant in India, Peugeot SA of France, has unveiled its hybrid car ‘3008', while Maruti Suzuki has showcased the hybrid variant of its popular hatchback Swift. Similarly, Tata Motors has unveiled hybrid Manza sedan, while Mahindra and Mahindra is gearing up to launch next-generation electric car Reva.

Other major attractions of the show are: the world's largest-selling electric car Leaf from Nissan, while Volkswagen is showcasing its concept ‘XL1' that comes with a 0.8 litre engine giving 48 PS of power. “This plug-in hybrid concept is the world's most efficient concept car in the world today that has achieved a combined fuel consumption of 0.9 litres per 100 km,” said Volkswagen Board Member Ulrich Hackenberg. Besides unveiling diesel-hybrid Indigo Manza and a hybrid bus, Tata Motors is planning to power its Rs.1-lakh wonder Nano with CNG soon, though it might also introduce diesel variant of the “people's car”. “Nano CNG is clearly on the cards…hopefully, we should be rolling it out this year,” said Tata Motors Managing Director P. M. Telang.

Among the bus manufacturers, Volvo has showcased its hybrid bus and is keen on introducing them on Indian roads for inter-city transport. “All we await is the demand and the direction from the authorities, so that we can apply this solution specifically to Indian needs,” Volvo Buses Managing Director and CEO (South Asia) Akash Passey said at the expo.

On the electric front, Mahindra & Mahindra has showcased the Reva NXR, the next generation electric vehicle is likely to be launched this Diwali. “Just imagine travelling from Connaught Place to Delhi international airport for an energy cost of Rs.10 and doing so in air-conditioned, climate-controlled comfort in your own car without emitting a single molecule of harmful gases,” said Mahindra & Mahindra President (Automotive and Farm Sectors) Pawan Goenka.

Interestingly, even the two-wheeler industry has been bitten by the hybrid bug. World's largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has unveiled its first concept hybrid scooter, Leap, that has been developed indigenously with the help of an international consultant. It comes with a petrol engine besides being equipped with an electric motor that is powered by a powerful battery.

“This is a first-ever hybrid scooter from India that runs on an electric motor but switches to petrol when its battery power is down…we are showing the rest of the world that we have arrived,” Hero MotoCorp Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal said while unveiling the two-wheeler.

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