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Pragmatism of e-vehicle policy

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Adoption of eco-friendly vehicles or electric (e) vehicles is a demand of time because the problem of pollution is increasing day by day. The use of e-vehicles will reduce the level of pollution, as well as reduce the dependence of the country on petroleum imports. Not only this, but it will also help our country in reducing the trade deficit.

NITI Aayog has formulated an e-vehicle policy, according to which 100 percent of e-vehicles will be sold in the country by the year 2030. The government has also announced to give subsidy to purchase e-buses, e-taxis, and e-three-wheelers because these vehicles are used in public transport. The subsidy will be given under the Fame India scheme of the Ministry of Heavy Industries Companies. This subsidy will not be given for e-vehicles purchased for personal use.

The goods and service tax (GST) council has reduced GST on e-vehicles from 12 percent to 5 percent. The GST council has also reduced GST from 18 percent to 5 percent on e-vehicle’s charger. In the first round, infrastructure for e-vehicles will be developed in cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Jammu, and Guwahati.

Based on the 2011 census, it is proposed to develop basic facilities for battery charging in cities with a population of more than 10 lakh. Initially, the aim is to establish one thousand charging stations across India. India currently has 20 vehicles per 1000 population, which shows that there is a huge shortage of vehicles in the country. From this perspective, there are immense possibilities for the development of the e-vehicles market in the country.

E-Vehicle operates with batteries instead of petrol or diesel. Therefore, there is a need to set up fast-charging stations in remote areas. Apart from this, there is also a need to ensure parking spots in all over India and the availability of standby batteries.  There are presently 75 percent small cars in India. The government has to electrify these cars. For keeping the affordable price of e-vehicles, the government will have to manufacture e-vehicles and its parts in India. If the government does this, then only their price can be made affordable to everyone. Currently, lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries, and silicon-based batteries are being used in e-vehicles, which are very expensive. Among these, the solid lithium-ion battery is currently more popular.

Mahindra & Mahindra Company has started assembling of e-vehicle’s batteries for which it has invested $ 700 million. India’s automobile companies have joined hands with global auto companies to implement the scheme to sale 100 percent e-vehicles by the year 2030. Suzuki will make an agreement to manufacture e-vehicles with Toyota. Mahindra will make an agreement with Ford and Renault will make an agreement with Nissan. Honda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, JLR, etc. are also working on the strategy of e-vehicle production.

There is presently only 1 per cent of e-vehicles compared to conventional vehicles in the world. Therefore, it is not easy to ensure 100 per cent e-vehicle sales by the year 2030. At present, the manufacturing of the passenger vehicle is growing at 8 per cent per annum. Even if only e-vehicles are built in the country, 100 percent of e-vehicles cannot be sold by the year 2030.

Lack of electricity can become the biggest obstacle in the path of e-vehicles. Therefore, in order to give an e-vehicle plan an integral form, 100 per cent electricity supply across the country must be ensured. Even today, 90 per cent of the electricity in the country is produced from coal. Here, the e-vehicle is not completely pollution-free.

According to experts, due to e-vehicles also carbon dioxide gas emits. For example, we manufacture batteries for e-vehicles with the help of electricity and most of the electricity is produced by Coal. Even for recharging of batteries, we use electricity. If we add total carbon dioxide gas emission in the manufacturing process of batteries including recharging, emission of carbon dioxide would only less than 30 to 40 per cent against conventional vehicles.

Mahindra and Ola have jointly run more than a hundred e-vehicles in Nagpur, but they are facing charging and other battery-related problems. They also have to face problems in charging batteries of e-vehicles at the time of need.

It can be said that there are many obstacles in the way of realizing the dream of e-vehicle. The biggest obstacle is the lack of infrastructure. There is a need to set up charging stations across the country to operate the e-vehicle. It is also necessary to arrange 24 hours power supply all over the country. The problem is also about the high cost of the e-vehicle. Till the e-vehicle is not affordable, common people will not be able to buy it. Since the cost of e-vehicle is high due to the battery’s cost, it will have to be manufactured in India.

It is obvious that the vehicle companies and the government will need huge capital for making this dream true. However, all these issues have not been discussed in NITI Aayog’s e-vehicle policy, due to which the future of e-vehicles in India did not appear very bright. According to Bloomberg, only 6 percent e-vehicles of the total vehicle usage in India will be used by the year 2030.

By Satish Singh

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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