Petrol prices hikes. This one topic has most of the Indians worried. The Petrol and Diesel prices hikes do not seem to be going down anytime soon.
The Indian Government has also raised the GST on motor vehicles. Since most Indians belong to the middle and lower classes and are highly price-sensitive, with petrol hikes and high vehicle prices, there has been a decline in demand for new vehicles.
Fast forward to the 21st century, the Indian market saw the launch of electric vehicles like Honda Kona, Mahindra’s eVerito, and their REVAi electric car acquired in May 2010. Limited infrastructure and low demand never helped these cars takeoff.
Then came the launch of Tesla, Inc. in the US, which changed the Electric Vehicles Industry. It became a status symbol for the rich and an aspirational car for the rest. Robust infrastructure, environment-friendliness made Tesla the game-changer of EV vehicles. It became a visionary product that broke the barriers and reservations people had about Electric Vehicles.
Although Electric vehicles seem like a new thing in India, we have been one of the earliest adopters of this technology. In 1996, the first electric vehicle was a three-wheeler, invented by Scooter’s India Pvt Ltd, and it was named VIKRAM SAFA. Approximately 400 vehicles were made and sold. In 2000, BHEL developed an eighteen-seater electric bus, which became popular too. Then about 200 electric vans were made and ran in Delhi. But it did not do that well in the market as it required a high cost for the battery and its low life.
Indian Government’s initiative to incentivize EVs in 2010, began with the government announcing financial incentives for manufacturers of electric vehicles sold in India. The UPA government announced a scheme with an outlay of Rs 95 crore to incentivize electric vehicles. The scheme envisages incentives of up to 20% on ex-factory prices of the vehicles, subject to a cap.
In 2013, while addressing the issue of national energy security, vehicular pollution, the government introduced the ‘National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020’ to enable users to shift to electric vehicles NEMMP 2020 was also launched to aid Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology.
Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the setting up of a ‘National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage’ to promote clean, connected, shared, sustainable, and holistic mobility initiatives. It has also committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33% to 35% percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Along with these, to encourage Indians to buy more environment-friendly vehicles, GST rates on electric vehicles have been slashed from the earlier 28% with cess to 12% with no cess. Ministry of Road Transport Highways issued notification regarding exemption of permit in case of battery-operated vehicles. A tax cut was announced on the loans taken for the purchase of electric vehicles in India.
According to a proposal drafted by NITI Aayog, India could save as much as US$40 billion currently spent on oil imports by 2030 if electric vehicles are widely adopted. They also recommended incentives of US$4.6 billion for companies manufacturing advanced batteries by 2030.
Even with all these incentives and initiatives taken up by the government, people here are hesitant to switch to EVs. Although there is a shift in thinking towards clean and sustainable alternatives, concerns over battery life and replacement costs, range per charge, slow charging times, and cost of vehicles have got Indians still choosing traditional petroleum-based engine vehicles or electric vehicles. Combined with this is the manpower crunch and practically non-existent infrastructure and hardware support to fulfill our demand at the moment.
Recent reports show that Norway sells 80,000 EVs per year, which equals 148 EVs per 10,000 people – 261% more than any other country. The Norwegian Government aims to prohibit the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2025. electric mobility. Battery-powered cars are exempt from the country’s (very high) import taxes and VAT. In addition, tolls and parking are free, and the country’s many ferry boats offer special offers for owners of electric vehicles, who could also use certain bus lanes.
Sweden is in second place, although the units sold per 10,000 people is a lot less at 41, suggesting that EV demand is rising. China has the highest number of one million EVs a year, or seven EVs per 10,000 people. The UK has banned the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2030. Despite the overall drop in sales, global EV market penetration increased by 0.3 percentage points from 2018 to 2019, for a total share of 2.5 percent. With additional growth in the first quarter of 2020, EV penetration is now at 2.8 percent.
The shift towards renewable energy sources has led to cost reduction from better electricity-generating technologies. This has introduced the possibility of clean, low-carbon, and inexpensive grids. Advances in battery technology have led to higher energy densities, faster charging, and reduced battery degradation from charging
Ather Energy and Ola electric have paved the path for 2 wheeler electric vehicles in India. We have one of the highest user bases of 2 wheeler vehicles in the world. Ola Electric is establishing its Ola Hypercharger Network which boasts charging points in 400 Indian cities with 1+ Lakh charging points. The Ola scooter gives a mileage of 80km/charge and Ather’s top-selling electric scooter Ather 450X gives 70km/charge.
Even before the popularity of 2 and 4 wheeler vehicles picked up, e-rickshaws and electric buses have been on roads for a few years now. Most of the metros in India have been using electric buses specifically for Airport Transport from various parts of the city.
Innovation and technological advancements are paving the path to clean and environmentally safe alternatives. Few such examples are Bioethanol produced from agricultural feedstocks, Biodiesel, and Hydrogen combustion engines that leverage existing technologies and provide a zero-emissions option for specific use cases while supporting the growth of hydrogen infrastructure. Recently, a Kerala professor received a patent for biodiesel made from slaughtered chicken waste and offers a mileage of over 38 km/l at around 40% of the current diesel price and lowers pollution by half. Car manufacturers are working in partnership with fuel manufacturers to design engines that support these biofuels.
The world is moving towards and government and people alike are working towards this reality of clean energy, fresh air, and a sustainable future. How would you like to contribute? Will you be switching to an EV vehicle soon?