Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a step ahead and kicked off India’s race to turn all new passenger car sales electric by 2030. In order achieve that goal, the largest order has gone to a company that hasn’t commercially started producing the vehicles, according to latest media reports.
Tata Motors Ltd. hasn’t sold a single electric car yet, though Chief Executive Officer Guenter Butschek says its late-mover status is an advantage at a time when technology advances are leading to a fall in costs. Tata along with Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.– India’s sole electric carmaker that plans to boost its vehicle manufacturing capacity to 5,000 units a month — underscore the distance to be covered when compared to China and the U.S. ‘
Recently, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has matched the bid made by Tata Motors Ltd for supplying electric vehicles (EVs) to the state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), winning 30% of the marque order. In addition to this, Mahindra is the only electric vehicle maker in India that has been at the forefront of the government’s electric mobility mission. So far, the company’s electric vehicle portfolio includes a hatchback, the e20, a sedan, the eVERITO, and a three-wheeler, e-Alfa Mini.
Also, recently at the launch event of the facelifted version of Electric Mahindra KUV100 in India, the home-grown utility vehicle manufacturer revealed that the electric KUV100 would be launched in India by late 2018 or early 2019.
India currently has about 350 charging points while China had about 215,000 installed at the end of 2016, according to the BNEF report. It will take about 15 years in India for total cost of ownership for electric vehicles to reach parity with conventional vehicles, around the time the south Asian nation plans to end sale of fossil fueled cars.
Tata and Mahindra will be focussed on making electric cars available for a huge Indian population who cannot afford to privately own four-wheel vehicles. Also, higher demand for these electric vehicles could lead to lower prices, which can create a win-win situation for all.
According to a report by the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, there has been a 37.5% increase in the sale of EVs in India in recent years. In addition to working towards switching to 100% electric vehicles by 2030, the Indian government agreed to bear up to 60% of the research and development (R&D) costs for developing indigenous low-cost electric technologies in January 2017, with the aim that government subsidies would help bolster the sector’s growth.
Speaking about India’s EV target, Pawan Goenka, managing director at automaker Mahindra & Mahindra told Bloomberg, “It would be little more moderate, though lot more aggressive growth path than what we have seen in other countries, but more moderate than being 100 percent electric vehicles by 2030.”
Electric vehicles will not only create new sources of revenue generation for India’s money-losing power retailers but will also help in building integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems. However, the manufacturers need to deal with various challenges that majorly include charging time, inadequate charging infrastructure, technological barriers, significant mass adoption, cost reduction, and inadequate road maintenance.