“India should move towards selling only electric vehicles (EV) by 2030. The existing cars may take a little longer to replace and the government is working on a framework for promoting electric vehicles. Niti Aayog is currently tasked with preparing a futuristic vision for electric cars,” Piyush Goyal, Union Power Minister told reporters at an FICCI event held in New Delhi.
The incumbent government has set an ambitious deadline of 2030 to go all electric. According to an EY report, the benefits of EVs are expected to provide a net positive economic impact of approximately Rs 200 billion to the power and utility sector in the country by 2022. Electric cars offer a route to maintaining the mobility of the society while drastically reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
However, the road doesn’t seem rosy for the EVs.
The sub-head might read highly unrealistic at a time when the technology is leaping strides but in reality, except for an exception of a few high-performance, expensive cars, almost all vehicles are designed for limited mileage urban use. Despite a leapfrog in the development of battery technology, today’s practical and affordable options still only give electric vehicles a range of around 120 kms, which relegates them to a second car status in a multi-car household.
Hybrid Cars give jitters to EVs
The potential cost and infrastructure issues associated with electric cars make the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle an appealing alternative. Such a car contains a battery and an internal combustion engine so if charging points existed they could be used. If none is available the car could run on petrol or diesel as well. So, people go for hybrid vehicles to go safely and reduce running cost rather than going for EVs.
Charging Stations need a re-charge
There aren’t many charging stations available for the EVs and this is not just the case in tier 2 or tier 3 cities but in metros as well. India lacks charging stations which are necessary for EV industry to grow. According to an analysis by Frost & Sullivan "Success of EVs in India will depend on the availability of electricity, charging infrastructure, the cost of charging batteries, and overall vehicle maintenance.” India is still facing a deficit of 1.6 per cent in power production as per Central Electricity Authority. The problem gets even acuter in tier-2 cities and remote parts of the country. This further limits the market for EVs in India.
Where are the choices?
Apart from Mahindra, no big auto company is active in the market for EVs. Reva, an EV brand has sold just about 22,000 units of the car since 2003 in India. If a consumer wants to go for an electric vehicle, he/she won’t have options to choose in India. Elon Musk led Tesla isn’t here (in India) and even if it ventures the Indian market, the affordability of Tesla cars will be a big issue.
Until some issues are resolved EVs might remain stuck in the first gear. So, if the government is actually serious about reducing emissions by bringing EVs, then the government needs to ‘gear-up’.