The current Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi as I am writing this article is touching the 200 mark which is considered to be under the severe category and poisonous to breathe in. This is not just the case in India but major nations are emitting carbons at a catastrophic rate. As per the World Air Quality Index Project Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) during November 1-15, is by far the worst at 312.
At the COP26 Global climate summit held at Glasgow, India defined its climate action goals to move forward. India promised to fulfil 50 per cent of its energy requirement through renewable energy, reduce 1 billion tons of carbon emissions from the total projected emissions by 2030 and will achieve net-zero emissions.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), India has the world’s worst air quality and in 2020, even during the lockdown restriction due to the Covid crisis, 36 cities out of 50 cities had unhealthy levels of air quality were from India. The major contributor to this is the vehicular pollution emitted from the increasing number of private owned Internal combustion engine vehicles (diesel & petrol vehicles)
To reduce this vehicular emission and to move forward with the climate action plans, the Indian government’s recent focus is mainly targeted at strengthening the Electric Vehicle policy in the country to reduce vehicular emissions as it is the main contributor to deteriorating air quality. The government is aiming to boost the EVs share in the automobile market and have implemented several policies in recent years.
At the COP26 global summit, the central government of India launched a portal, ‘E-Amrit’ on electric vehicles initiatives. It is a one-stop destination available in the public domain for all the information related to the electronic vehicle.
On the launch of the mentioned initiative, the NITI Aayog released a statement that read, "The portal has been developed and hosted by NITI Aayog under a collaborative knowledge exchange programme with the UK government and as part of the UK-India Joint Roadmap 2030, signed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries”.
The portal is launched in compliance with the past policies introduced by the government to push electric vehicle sales. The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme back in 2015 and again in April 2019, the government introduced FAME II for five years with total budgetary support of₹10,000 crores. Besides that, the central government has reduced GST on electric vehicles from 12 per cent to five per cent. It also reduced GST on charging infrastructure to promote the development of EV charging stations. Several state governments are also providing their respective EV policy to promote the sales of electric vehicles.
In the past couple of years, the demand for electric vehicles in the Indian market has witnessed a significant spike and automobile manufacturers have also contributed by providing quality and efficient EVs in the market.
The transport and highway minister, Nitin Gadkari said in the parliament that a total of 8,70,141 electric vehicles were registered in India.
According to the report, the increasing popularity of electric vehicle manufacturing is becoming popular every day, its market share is also expected to rise greatly. India’s GDP is expected to grow by an amazing 25% by 2022.
India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) released its first ‘India Electric Vehicle Market Overview’ report said, “The EV market in India has gained significant momentum after the implementation of FAME India scheme. The total EV sales in 2018 hit 365,920 Units and are expected to grow at a CAGR of 36% by 2026. The EV battery market in India is estimated to be US$ 520 Million in 2018 and forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 30% by 2026. The total MWh addition in 2018 hit 4.75 GWh and is expected to grow to 28.0 GWh by 2026.
The recent hike in fuel prices is also one of the leading factors which are motivating the shift of the consumers towards the electric vehicle as ICE vehicles are majorly affecting their pockets.
Bumps in the road ahead:
The major challenge for consumers in shifting towards electric vehicles is the cost of these vehicles. Despite the lower maintenance cost, EVs are much more expensive and also have a much lower driving range as compared to petrol and diesel engine vehicles. The associated cost and the limited range is a restricting factor hindering the consumers from owning an electric vehicle.
Apart from the challenges from a consumer’s perspective, there is still a huge gap that needs to be bridged. The current infrastructure to support the electric vehicle market in the country is not sufficient enough to have a complete shift. Despite the recent installments of the charging stations in several states, there is still a huge requirement in the development of this sector to meet the prospects.
The EV market is still in its developing stage and only a few manufacturers are providing limited options for the consumers. There is a need to increase the investment in the automobile sector to boost the transition to zero-emission vehicles.
All said and done, the road to the future for electric vehicles in the Indian market is not going to be as smooth as it seems as transitioning from one technology to another is always a tough task. India’s share in the automobile sector is going to pose major challenges.
There are major gaps that need to be filled and the recent developments in the policies and announcements by PM Modi and the Union Transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari are highlighting a positive transition