Can India’s electric  vehicle dream become a reality? 

Sushant Ranjan
Sunday, 4 August 2019

E-vehicle is a reality and the only debate is how fast will the penetration be. It makes sense from  perspectives of national energy security, a cleaner environment, lower operating cost and very soon cheaper vehicles. It is good for the nation, society and consumer.” 
— Pradeep Bhargava, President and Member of the Board of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA)

Official data shows that through its ambitious Electric Vehicle Policy, India can save about 64 per cent of its energy by road and transport by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions by about 37 per cent. Along with this, about $60 billion can also be saved in 2030.

India is a big automobile hub since a decade and now, the auto industry is expecting that it will give a boost to the industry and the country will become a hub of battery-operated vehicles.

In the first term of Narendra Modi government (2014-19), Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had flagged of the introduction of e-rickshaws across the country. E-rickshaws are now a source of livelihood for many jobless people. E-rickshaws are popular in Delhi, NCR and small cities of Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and many others.

The Goods & Service Tax (GST) Council decided to lower the duty on all-electric vehicles (EVs) and the chargers of such vehicles. This is the second booster for such vehicles in the last four weeks. The decision was taken on July 27 after a meeting held in New Delhi chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 

During the Budget, the finance minister had proposed to reduce the GST rate on EVs to 5 per cent from 12 per cent. This came as a big relief for the automobile industry. Sitharaman, in her maiden Budget on July 5, had said that the government will provide an additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken for the purchase of EVs. This amounts to a benefit of around Rs 2.5 lakh over the loan period to the taxpayers who take loans to purchase electric vehicles.

There are several studies that have indicated an overall positive impact on the GDP, especially of countries which are dependent on heavy fuel imports, by the introduction of EVs. Some studies have estimated net social and private benefit between $ 300 and $400 per electric vehicle. NITI Aayog’s estimate indicates that about Rs 3,400 crore worth of petrol is being consumed by two-wheelers every year, said former Director-General of MCCIA Dr Anant Sardeshmukh.

Significantly, generating energy from coal causes more pollution than water and renewable energy. But under India’s Post 2020 Climate Action Plan, life-time emissions of electric vehicles can be reduced through renewable energy. As the development of renewable energy, the sources of energy can be changed. Significantly, about 15 per cent of India’s energy needs come from water energy. Renewable energy can be increased so that India achieves the target of 175 GW by 2022.

On the one hand, the prices of petrol and diesel are rising every day and on the other hand, the level of pollution is also increasing rapidly. The solution to both the problems is usually seen in electric vehicles. “The world is going towards electric mobility for carbon emissions and people’s health very fast, hence the business scenario of the world will also change,” said Deepak Sharma, a senior journalist from New Delhi. 

The presence of an electric train engine in place of the deep-rooted combustion engine (Combination Engine / IC) in the country is a major change. An unexpected and big barrier came in 2012 as a battery-powered e-rickshaw. These cheap Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) have destabilised autorickshaw’s original device manufacturers (OMS). At present, there are about 0.4 million electric two-wheelers and 0.1 million e-rickshaws in India, while cars are only in thousands.

Even if half of the present ICE 2 wheelers are replaced by 2 wheeler EVs, you can imagine the contribution of these  Zero Emission Vehicles not only to the environment but to the Indian economy too. That savings brought out by elimination of import of crude oil can make our economy not $ 5 trillion but even 7 trillion by 2026.” 
Dr Anant Sardeshmukh Former Director-General of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) 


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