The government of India seems to be working on several reforms and policy measures to make higher adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country a reality. Tabling the Economic Survey 2018-19 in the Parliament, Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Minister for Finance, said that the Survey found EVs to hold enormous potential for India – not only because they are eco-friendly but also as an opportunity for the country to emerge as an EV manufacturing hub; generating employment and growth opportunities.
The survey says it “may not be unrealistic to visualise one of the Indian cities emerging as the Detroit of EVs in the future.” However, it adds that “appropriate policy measures are needed to lower the overall lifetime ownership costs of EVs and make them an attractive alternative to conventional vehicles for all consumers.”
The study cites the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (2018), which says that the transport sector is the second-largest contributor to CO2 emissions in India, after the industrial sector. What's more, road transport accounts for around 90 percent of the total emissions in the transport sector in India. The study further noted that the market share of EVs increases with the increasing availability of charging infrastructure. “It, therefore, becomes important that adequate charging stations are made available throughout the road networks.”
Universal charging standard for EVs in India
The Economic Survey also added that access to fast-charging facilities must be fostered to increase market share of EVs. “In India, the limited availability of charging infrastructure seems to be a major impediment to increased adoption of EVs.”
Another major impediment is the time taken for charging EVs as compared to conventional vehicles. The Survey says, “It is, therefore, an important policy issue to come up with universal charging standards for the country as a whole to enable increased investment in creation of such infrastructure.”
“It is equally important to provide information on public charger to the users of EVs through online maps and other means such as physical signage,” it goes on to say. “This will encourage increased ease of adoption of EVs.”
The same survey pushes the cause of indigenous battery development, “The development of appropriate battery technologies that can function efficiently in the high temperature conditions in India need to be given utmost importance (NITI Aayog 2018).”
Attributing NITI Aayog, the Economic Survey estimates that if India reaches an EV sales penetration of 30 percent for private cars, 70 percent for commercial cars, 40 percent for buses and 80 percent for two- and three-wheelers by 2030, a saving of 846 million tonnes of net CO2 emissions and oil savings of 474 MTOE can be achieved. It also provides India an opportunity to grow as a manufacturing hub for EVs – provided that policies are supportive.