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100% electric vehicles by 2030, a dream worth sharing

Just a week back Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said “My mission, my dream is public transport on electricity”. Well, he is moving forward and again reiterated government’s resolve to bring in 100 percent electric mobility by 2030. MoRTH and DHI have supported the draft policy prepared by Niti Aayog which is likely to be sent for Cabinet approval soon. The Minister had a long meeting with Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Wednesday on the electric vehicle policy. Amongst the government department road transport and heavy industries and Niti Aayog are major stake holders in the said policy. Sales of zero-emission cars will account for 53.3% of the total by 2040, according to Niti Aayog, the official think tank. Electric vehicle market in India  is presently  pegged at  $30 billion auto market.

Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, the government agency that runs India’s energy efficiency programs, had  issued a tender  worth about  INR 13 billion ($203 million) for plug-in vehicles that would replace government cars operating in and around the capital city.  Bids were invited by EESL to supply 500 electric cars by 30 November and the rest by June 2018. The deadline for bids has been extended by four days to 22 September to help allow overseas companies ascertain rules for imports, Saurabh Kumar, managing director of  EESL,  said in a phone interview.

However unspoken apprehensions are whether the infrastructure needed to make electric mobility a reality for Indian roads by 2030 will be in place, will it be confined to metros and at best major cities connected with fuel pumps turning into charging stations or will it be a change in battery technologies to enable long distance travel for electric vehicles.

Though details of the policy draft are not known, there is a talk of enabling provision to accelerate manufacturing of electric vehicles which include government incentive and government push for mass scale production of lithium-ion batteries, as adequate provisioning of the batteries is crucial to roll out of the mission. But real impediment lies in gearing up a pan India infrastructure needed to support electric mobility. Recently at the launch of its Fuso e Canter electric truck in New York last week, Daimler AG had announced its willingness to make its Electric Trucks available in India.

Head of Daimler Trucks Asia, Marc Llistosella said if there is infrastructure support, local partnership and cooperation from the local civic bodies, we are willing to bring electric trucks to India. The impediment lies in the fact that the right infrastructure to support electric vehicles is not there.

Yet another issue in mission electrifying the the travel(for the time being read vehicles) coming up is the demand for subsidy and support for manufacturing incentives as voiced by Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), the apex industry body of EV industry in India.

“Any State that makes the right move and early will have a competitive edge as they will be able to attract more investments in the manufacturing units, charging infrastructure and create employment. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are keen on electric vehicles. Telangana can create a think tank to come out with the most competitive policy and SMEV can contribute towards it,”   Sohinder Gill, director- Corporate Affairs, SMEV told ‘Telangana Today’, while sharing details on the representation and recommendations made towards the formulation of the State policy by  SMEV.

Pushing for incentives, SMEV has sought Telangana government to provide additional State subsidy as it believes the Centre’s subsidy is inadequate to promote adoption of advanced battery technology. The industry body has called for nullifying State GST on electric vehicles.

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