Movements around India’s 2030 Electric Vehicle Goals

Posted by Global technology interface on October 29, 2022

A recent report published by NITI Aayog, the Indian government’s think tank, estimates that India can cut carbon emissions by 34% and save up to 60 billion USD in 2030, by adopting a road-based mobility system driven by electric vehicles[1]. The report announced that India plans to sell only electric vehicles by 2030, an ambitious turnaround to the current estimate of only 1% of India’s 200 million vehicles being electric[2]. This report was published May 2017, and has already attracted sizeable interest from large foreign industries looking to enter the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing supply chain in India.

For instance, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) chairman James Huang claims, “the next two years is a golden opportunity for Taiwanese firms to tap into India’s EV market, as the nation is at the early stages of developing the industry[3]”. Given that the Indian government has made plans to boost the EV supply chain with attractive incentives such as tax breaks and lower interest rates for EV manufacturers[4], TAITRA has already begun seeking local auto component suppliers and is in talks with India’s EV companies to seek collaborative opportunities[5]. Similarly China’s Zhuhai Yinlong New Energy company has plans to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Punjab[6]. Zhuhai Yinlong New Energy manufactures lithium-ion batteries, and is in talks with the Chief Minister of Punjab to finalize proposals.

Other demonstrations around the EV industry in India include Ola’s 50 crore-rupee investment in Nagpur towards EVs and charging infrastructure. Nagpur recently became India’s first city with a convoy of 200 electric vehicles, including taxis, buses, and e-rickshaws[7]. Similarly Sun New Energy Systems announced a joint venture with Virya Mobility called Sun Mobility, which will focus on investing and developing EV technologies and charging infrastructure. Chetan Maini, Chairman of Sun Mobility (also the founder of Reva, India’s first e-car) claims “the cost of renewable energy, for the first time, is actually at a point where its economics look better than gasoline in recent years[8].” Automotive giant, Ashok Leyland has also invested in this partnership, adding significantly to the resources and scale of this venture[9]. Startups such as Hyderabad-based Gayam Motor Works (GMW) are also playing pivotal roles in building up the EV industry. GMW is in talks with Ola to pilot their electric auto-rickshaws and has partnered with online grocery retailer BigBasket to pilot about 50 electric autos. GMW also supplies electric bikes to Uber's food delivery service UberEATS in Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco, and is hopeful for a similar partnership with Uber in India[10].

Currently, Mahindra is the only manufacturer in India selling electric four-wheel vehicles to the public[11]. The Mahindra e2oPlus has a top speed of 85 kmph and a full charge takes about 9 hours. Other electric or hybrid vehicles include the Toyota Camry hybrid, and the Honda Accord hybrid. Apparent challenges with introducing electric vehicles in India include a lack of infrastructure in terms of charging stations, and bringing down the cost of efficient electric vehicles. Norway for example, leads the world in advancements in EVs; with attractive initiatives such as free EV charging stations, special parking for drivers using EVs, free tolls, tax breaks, Norway is expected to switch entirely to EVs by 2025[12]. Norway also opened the world’s largest fast-charging station, which can charge up to 28 vehicles in about half an hour, and last year EVs constituted almost 40% of the country’s newly registered cars[13]

According to Niti Aayog, the aim is for India to leapfrog mobility trends developed countries went through, and head straight to EVs by 2030. One advantage is that India has an installed power generation capacity of 329,204 MW, of which only half is operational at any given time due to muted demand[14]. The shift to EVs, if successful will result in significantly greater power demands, which luckily already has the required infrastructure in place. While there are huge hurdles in converting India’s road transport system from gasoline-powered to electric, the long-term benefits are priceless – EVs reduce air pollution, lower costs on foreign oil imports, use renewable energy sources, etc. Norway started shifting to EVs as early as the 1990’s, and refers to gasoline-powered cars as “fossilbiler” (fossil cars)[15].

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