Is India ready for an EV revolution?

EV charging station - EV Zone

The Indian government recently indicated an ambitious target of 100% transition to electric vehicles(EV) by the end of 2030 – an impossible target that has since been revised. The plan now calls for 30% of private vehicles, 70% of commercial vehicles, 40% of buses and 80% of two and three-wheelers to go electric by 2030.

While manufacturers are reporting record sales for electric two and three-wheelers, all other categories are way behind any realistic target. India sold about 17.4 million two-wheelers and just 2.7 million cars in 2019-20, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The figures seem to be less clear for electric cars, which account for less than 4% of India’s car sales this financial year. “You can only sell what’s there,” said Vinkesh Gulati, president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations. He notes that the issue is to do with supply rather than demand.

EV manufacturers have to struggle with challenges that range from a lack of charging stations (India has less than 2,000 compared to some 900,000 in China) to battery disposal to resale value. Adding to the woes is the cost, as the components for an EV don’t come cheap. The average price of a normal car in India is around  INR 7,00,000 – the cheapest electric car available comes for about at INR 12,00,000.

Collaboration is essential to save costs and minimise losses.

For the EV to really take off and get adopted by the masses there needs to be collaboration and synergy amongst various industries and the government. While the manufacturer only builds the car, a chemical company makes the batteries to run it and an energy supplier provides the power to charge it and the government needs to provide the infrastructure for all this to run together smoothly like building roadways, allocating charging stations, battery disposal mechanisms and clear the red tape.

Online Technology Adoption

With smaller vehicles that do not need registration or driving license the data suggests that people are more than willing to buy online which is why manufacturers should collaborate with online sellers to maximise sales and increase adoption of the technology.

Electric vehicles in India have become more relevant than ever, it is fair to say that a transition from conventionally powered vehicles to EVs has already commenced. Of course, the mass transition to electric vehicles can be achieved only if the infrastructure in the country is supportive, something that the sector sorely lacks as of now.

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