Future of electric vehicles in India: challenges and opportunities

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Since decades, global automakers have been frantically attempting to find innovative and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. The overall destruction of the ecosystem has not been a hidden result of the use of fossil fuels around the planet. And now, more than ever, there is a pressing need to transition away from fossil fuels and toward more environmentally friendly alternatives. The entire world has now joined hands and agreed to work toward a carbon-neutral, zero-emission world. Electric vehicles would be a critical component in achieving that aim. Countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Norway, and Germany have even passed legislation prohibiting the sale of non-electric vehicles by 2025. As a result, the electric vehicle sector is one of today’s most interesting, important, and required fields of innovation.

India has already expressed a strong desire to play a key role in this automotive paradigm shift. Furthermore, India has expressed its aim to become the world’s largest hub for electric vehicles in the future. Electric automobiles are seen as a potential choice by industry professionals.

Electric automobiles have a lot more to offer than just environmental benefits. To name a few, autonomous driving alternatives, personalized smart assistance solutions, and 5G incorporated next-generation technologies. Electric cars, in comparison to conventional internal combustion engines, have a significantly reduced running cost. Electric vehicles are 75-80 percent less expensive to operate and maintain on average, which translates to lower maintenance costs. As a result, for many consumers with high usage, this is a significant factor. This is true across form factors since charging a battery is significantly less expensive than refueling a typical liquid fuel tank.

India stands to benefit greatly from widespread use of e-mobility. Manufacturing of e-vehicles and their associated components is predicted to boost the percentage of manufacturing in India’s GDP to 25% by 2022 under the Make In India programme. On the economic front, widespread adoption of electric vehicles is expected to save $60 billion in oil imports by 2030 – now, imports account for 82 percent of India’s oil requirement. Electricity as a fuel might drop to as low as Rs 1.1/km, saving an electric vehicle owner up to Rs 20,000 for every 5,000 kilometres driven. Finally, electrification will aid in the reduction of automotive emissions, which are a major contributor to air pollution and generate an annual GDP loss of about 3%, according to reports.

The Ministry of Power has already established the National E-Mobility plan in India, which includes a fleet of electric automobiles such as the Mahindra e-Verito sedan and the Tata Tigor EV.

The National E-mobility Programme of India aims to boost the whole e-mobility ecosystem, which includes electric vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure developers, fleet operators, and service providers, among others. The government has stated that it is studying charging infrastructure and policy framework in order to achieve a target of 30% electric vehicles in India.

R. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways K. Singh, the Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, has started the “Go Electric” Campaign in India to raise awareness about the benefits of e-mobility, EV Charging Infrastructure, and electric cookery.

The Go Electric Campaign is an effort aimed at lowering our country’s reliance on imports in the coming years, as well as a significant step toward a cleaner, greener future. The campaign aims to raise awareness across India and is likely to increase electric vehicle makers’ trust.

Electricity as an alternative fuel has several advantages, according to the transportation minister. According to the minister, fossil fuels have an import bill of Rs. 8 lakh crore.

To make the transition to an electric future easier, the government has introduced special policy measures such as lowering the GST on electric vehicles to 5%, compared to 28 percent for combustion engines and providing loan exemptions for electric vehicle purchases. Additionally, the Union cabinet has proposed customs duty exemption on certain EV parts, such as the electric drive assembly, onboard charger, e-compressor, and a charging gun, to reduce costs. To date, nearly a dozen states have adopted or proposed policies on electric vehicles, with Delhi being the most recent.

The infrastructure for e-mobility charging is a source of worry. In India, where the number of automobiles on the road is rapidly increasing, there are over 1000 charging stations for electric vehicles. The proportions are unreasonable, and the consumer’s fears are completely legitimate. Nobody wants to be stranded in the middle of the road while awaiting the installation of a charging station. Furthermore, an EV’s battery charging system can take several hours to charge, which can be a concern.

In India, basic battery cell production is completely unavailable, putting India at risk of widening its trade deficit. Most manufacturers rely on batteries imported from Japan, China, Korea, and Europe at the time.

How far can India’s electric future go?

Automobile manufacturers from all over the world are keeping a close eye on the Indian market. With Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer, entering the Indian electric car market, it’s fair to say that India has a fresh lease on life as an electric vehicle hub. However, the pandemic has significantly hampered India’s growth rate.

Given the market’s volatility and lack of long-term demand, it’s critical to estimate how long India will take to transition to electric vehicles. However, industry executives are optimistic that the shift will occur soon, citing factors such as the growing number of industry incumbents and startups making rapid and significant breakthroughs in the EV market, as well as growing demand and user interest and institutional interest.

Bhavaneesh Athikary, Automotive Lead-Indo-Pacific, Hexagon, spoke with ELE Times about India’s goal to become an EV hub, saying, “Innovations in the EV field have occurred and will continue to occur, and we hope that the policy environment in India will become even more favourable.” Many government initiatives have been implemented over the years, including the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP), which was published in 2013 by the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) as a roadmap for the speedier manufacture and acceptance of electric vehicles in India.

“When it comes to India, various government players have made policy adjustments, from the Ministry of Power to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,” he continued. For example, the Ministry of Power has emphasised that charging electric vehicles is considered a service, which means that EV charging stations will not require a licence to operate. It has also created a policy on charging infrastructure in order to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has stated that green licence plates would be issued to both commercial and private battery-operated vehicles. Without a question, there is a lot of potential. Tesla is expected to open an electric-car production plant in the southern Indian state of Karnataka in 2021, according to reports. Tesla will begin operations in India with a research and development centre in Bengaluru. We believe that all of the elements are in place for India to become the world’s largest electric vehicle hub.”

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