EVs Are Bringing A Silent Revolution In India: The Present, Future & Challenges

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The ecosystem of EVs is evolving in India. Indians are seeing EVs or electrical vehicles on the roads more than usual. As per data available with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as of 3rd August 2022, there were a total of 13,92,265 EVs running on the roads of India. 

An electric vehicle or EV operates on an electric motor, unlike normal vehicles having an internal-combustion engine that generates power by burning a mix of fuel and gases. 

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Recently, the sale of EVs in the country also rose considerably in FY 2021-22 to over one lakh thirty-four thousand, as compared to the sales figure in FY 2020-21. This is a consequence of multiple factors. The government, primarily, has taken measures to boost the sale. Some of which include: 

1.Approval of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) in the country helped bring down the prices of batteries, which further resulted in cost reduction of electric vehicles.

2. The GST on EVs has been reduced from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. Further, GST on chargers/ charging stations for electric vehicles too, has been reduced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.

3. As decided by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), battery-operated vehicles are given green license plates and enjoy exemption from permit requirements.

4. The ministry also directed the states to waive road tax on EVs. This helped bring down the initial cost of EVs. 

5. The government has also provided a tax exemption of Rs 1.5 lakh to people buying EVs on loan.

6. The government, under two phases of the FAME or faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles scheme, has also been taking rigorous steps to improve the infrastructure for easy manufacturing of electric vehicles in the country. 

7. There is also a plan in place to set up 22,000 EV charging stations by Oil Marketing Companies across the country.

8. A battery swapping policy too was announced in the 2022 budget as an easier way to charge EVs. 

9. India also launched the e-AMRIT portal. It functions as a one-stop destination for all information on EVs, involving charging facility locations and EV financing options, information about investment opportunities, government policies, and available subsidies. An app too will be developed named the EV Super App that will offer solutions for all details on charging and tariffs, etc.

In addition to reducing oil import costs, encouraging more and more people to switch to EVs is one of the best ways for the Indian government to also move closer to achieving its international pledges to battle global climate change. Boosting the use of EVs will help India save nearly one Giga tonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. It will also help in achieving the 2070 zero carbon emission target. 

EVs are especially known for their environmentally friendly feature. The EVs’ electric motor runs in a closed circuit, as a result of which no hazardous gases are released. Besides, because they don’t need gasoline or diesel, their contribution to air pollution is extremely low. Their tailpipe emission too is zero. 

Although electrical cars are a blessing to the environment, adopting a fully-electric ecosystem in India still has a few hurdles. The high cost of the vehicles is keeping the people of India from buying EVs. Over 60% of customers believe that an EV is beyond their budget. However, now, the rise in the price of fuel is making people think of buying an electric car. Further, there is inadequate infrastructure in India to support the smooth running of EVs. The country holds more than 65,000 petrol stations but there are only 1,742 EV charging stations. 

Currently, TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto have already launched their electric scooters while Suzuki is also set to launch one of its own. With regards to electric passenger vehicles, Tata Nexon EV is currently leading the market. Tata Motors also launched Tata Tiago EV in the market at an introductory price of Rs 8.49 lakh which makes it the most affordable electric car in India having over 250 km range. Next in line to launch EVs in the Indian market are companies like Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche. 

Additionally, phase two of the FAME scheme looks to roll out 7000 E-Buses and over 20,000 2-,3-, and 4-wheeler passenger cars across India to put in place a robust EV public transport system. An apt example of this is Mumbai’s BEST which has put on road electric buses procured from Tata Motors. BEST aims to have a 100% electric bus fleet in Mumbai by 2027. Private cab service Ola too, has announced producing electric cars in India by 2024, having a 500 km range. 

A report by KPMG India estimates that 5 crore EVs will hit Indian roads by 2030! While EV technology has not been new in India, it is only now that it is picking speed due to the play of many factors like environmental awareness, the ease of driving, schemes and subsidies by the government helping in cost reduction, rise in fuel prices etc.  

Lastly, the entire world is facing the ill effects of global warming and climate change. Transitioning to EVs is going to go a long way in helping the generations to come, live in a safe and healthy environment. 

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