India’s Mission 2030 For All-Electric Vehicle is Achievable If...
Sales of electric cars in China have increased by a whopping 290 percent. 
Sales of electric cars in China have increased by a whopping 290 percent. (Photo: iStock)

India’s Mission 2030 For All-Electric Vehicle is Achievable If...

The Indian government is on a fast-tracking mission to make the country an all-electric vehicle market by 2030. Many have ridiculed this ambition, and even the automotive industry feels that the time-frame is too little for such a big transformation to happen.

But recently we have seen some measures being taken that’s looking to change the industry trend in the country, with the focus on electric vehicles (EV) gathering pace, especially with the ever-growing threat of pollution acting as a catalyst.

Here’s a look at the factors that can give India some optimism of meeting its target in 2030, if not earlier.

Nationwide Support for EV

After attending the recent EV Expo in Delhi, it became quite clear that the focus on bringing this technology is scattered right now. While the central government is keen, very few states have opened up to changing the dynamics of India’s transport system.

According to experts, the strategy of rolling out EVs across the country will only happen if the government, the states and bodies like power and transport ministries furnish a set of policies that are EV-friendly, giving everyone the encouragement to switch in the coming years.

Tata has already worked out a plan around electric vehicles.
Tata has already worked out a plan around electric vehicles.
(Photo Courtesy: Cartoq)

The government has to be proactive with its efforts to heavily subsidise all the components that form a part of the EV ecosystem, such as batteries, electric motors, and also set up charging stations.

To start with, most of this technology will be imported, and before manufacturers can think of doing things locally, they need to see some sops from the government to kickstart the action.

Electric Vehicles = Battery

Without batteries, EVs will just be pieces of metal sheet with wheels and sadly, India hasn’t opened up its avenues for battery manufacturing yet. But before the country does that, one has to look at ways of sourcing the raw materials that go into making of batteries for electric vehicles.

Lithium, graphite and cobalt – these are the main ingredients that have to be imported from countries like Australia and Chile among others. 
Battery-packs in a pedal-electric rickshaws have become a common sight in north Delhi. 
Battery-packs in a pedal-electric rickshaws have become a common sight in north Delhi. 
(Photo: Natisha Mallick/The Quint)

Only then will India be capable of setting up shop to manufacture batteries for EVs. Which again brings us to the point that a subsidy on importing batteries from countries like China (yes, again) might not find acceptance from all, but at least in the short-term, that is India’s only way to go.

By 2021, China will be responsible for 65 percent of lithium-ion battery production in the world.

In the meanwhile, India needs its brightest minds to do their bit (research and study) and come up with alternative solutions that can reduce the country’s dependency on imported materials.

What Happens Now?

Well, India is already making moves in this space and the auto industry is confident about the government putting its foot forward to work with them. They are preparing for the first stage of upheaval, which happens later this year, as India switches from BS-IV fuel, and jumps directly to BS-VI fuel, even before any other country does.

With rising pollution levels in the country, the Indian government has stressed that by jumping from BSIV to BS VI graded fuel, vehicles can curb their polluting emissions. 

This has meant auto brands heading back to the drawing board, and work out a strategy (a very technical one) to figure out a way for BS-VI level fuel to run in BS-IV compatible engines for the moment, before they launch BS-VI compliant vehicles.

Automobile brands like Audi will be hit with this move. 
Automobile brands like Audi will be hit with this move. 
(Photo: The Quint)
Mercedes-Benz claims to have worked out a way around this complicated issue, and rolled out its S-Class to prove its point recently. 

But that’s not all, by switching to EVs India will change the fortunes and economic set up of the petroleum and auto sector, which according to the Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26, is estimated to be a $16.5 billion market by 2021, and supposedly creating 65 million additional jobs by 2026 in the process as well.

EVs could signal the end of high-powered cars. 
EVs could signal the end of high-powered cars. 
(Photo Courtesy: Aston Martin)

India is the third largest consumer of oil in the world and demand for oil is only going to increase in the coming years.

If India is really serious about meeting its goal of 2030 for electric vehicles, then the work needs to happen at a rapid pace, and right now.