Is India ready for electric vehicles?

Is India ready for electric vehicles?

Sudanti Sapru

Firstly India isn’t yet ready for the foray of ‘entry-level’ electric cars into the mainstream since these cars are considered impractical to own due to their unaffordable price, low mileage per charge and unavailable public charging infrastructure. Currently, such cars are very few, being used as ‘secondary cars’, mostly in Tier-1 cities and only for City commute. 

Here’s how we can see increased adoption of ‘entry-level’ electric cars in future: If the Government provides more incentives ( subsidies, lower electricity tariffs, lower toll fees etc.. ) and builds public charging infrastructure (at least in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities), buyers can begin considering electric cars. With the sales booming, manufacturers will be excited to increase their spend on R&D and come up with advanced battery technology which provides higher mileage. This will boost the sales further and lower the prices. With electric vehicles having a non-negligible share, Government or private investors can setup Charging stations on highways making electric cars suitable for intercity travel. This will make electric cars more practical.

We are already the leader of the e-rickshaw market and the days are not far when e-scooters like Okinawa and twenty-two motors will rock the roads instead of a Honda Activa. Some cities will be experiencing comfy rides in electric buses, and Tata and Leyland are doing this task pretty well. And state bus companies will also have fast chargers, hence they won’t face the charging network issue. But for 4 wheelers to be successful we need certain changes and we are good to go!

Electric cars are unreasonably priced for whatever they have to offer. Also, the lack of proper charging network is reducing e-car demand, so only fleet operators are adopting electric cars as taxis and corporate vehicles.

A brief way forward

•Government must form regulations and norms regarding the manufacturing of electric vehicles and EVSEs.
•The Government has to reduce the GST level on big EVs from 18%, it must be 12%.
•Government should mandate manufacturers to make electric variants of some of their popular models. 
•Government should accelerate solar energy adoption and make the national grid smart, which is happening here and there in small scale.
•All petrol pumps should have paid DC fast chargers and free AC Level 2 chargers: there need not be EV only charging station, we have to integrate them into petrol pumps.
•Petrol and diesel should be banned except for hybrid cars – CNG, CBG, LPG vehicles should be encouraged, and people should get fewer taxes on them up to the time people start open-heartedly adopting electric cars.
•Clearcut plans to subsidise 30–40% price of EVs and recovery of the same from hybrid/gas car owners should be there.

The government needs to encourage domestic and foreign investments to create a competitive market in the field of electric vehicle manufacturing. Also, the government needs to provide subsidies, transportation-tax benefits and easy-loans to attract people to adopt electric vehicles.

As it is said, “Rome was not built in a day”, the same way, electric vehicles cannot be brought on roads overnight. But, with the positive encouraging policies like FAME by Ministry of heavy industries and enterprises, e-mobility can be achieved at the earliest.

Polity Press Staff

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