E-mobility for Future: All EVs on Roads Post 2030, Proposes NITI Aayog
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The dialogue around e-mobility has been around for a while but the latest proposal by NITI Aayog has taken the discussion a notch ahead and honestly, looks a bit far-fetched. In a Cabinet note, the Indian government’s think tank has proposed the sale of only electric vehicles post 2030, seeking faster adoption of e-mobility.
According to reports, the cabinet note seeks to assign responsibility for different ministers. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed to prepare a framework to phase out the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030. A suggestion to pilot an e-highways programme with an overhead electricity network for trucks and buses was also discussed.
The proposal comes as a shock to gasoline-based automobile companies which were looking at ways to transition their fleet to electric vehicles in order to realize the earlier National Electric Mobility Mission 2030, which was to achieve 30 per cent e-mobility in India. While Mahindra & Mahindra and Hero MotoCorp had already taken a step towards EV transition, others are still struggling with the idea.
The automobile industry is finding it hard to digest NITI Aayog’s complete evolution plan. Seeking to ensure a complete transition of India as a clean nation, the proposal is visionary but ‘unrealistic’. The government has been taking significant steps for the promotion of green mobility but needs a solid plan that is executable.
Efforts for Commercial Vehicles
To further expand the scope of the clean fuel technology in the commercial landscape, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had earlier suggested that only electric-powered three-wheelers and two-wheelers with an engine capacity of up to 150 cc should be sold from 2025. The proposal has also recommended for cab aggregators to replace all their diesel and petrol-run vehicles with EVs.
In March this year, Cabinet had approved the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) scheme for the betterment of charging infrastructure and subsidies on purchase of EVs. The target of manufacture 50 Gigawatt hour (GWh) batteries by 2030 has been met with the proposal of extending financial incentives by the government.
The GST Game
According to reports, in order to further boost the EV space, the government is brainstorming on cutting the goods and services tax (GST) on electric vehicles to 5 per cent from 12 per cent. Given the recent proposal by NITI Aayog, tax reduction on EVs might be a part of multiple issues that are scheduled to be discussed on June 20th meeting by the GST Council.
Reduced taxes are also expected to encourage global manufacturers to invest in India’s mushrooming e-mobility space for bringing down the pollution levels. Electric Vehicles have become a rage in public transportation. The inception of Bike-sharing platforms like Yulu, Mobycy, Rapido, ONN Bikes, Bounce, Vogo, Ola Electric has pushed the electric adoption.
The Changing Directions
SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), the nodal body for Indian automobile industry has proposed making petrol-powered two-wheelers and passenger vehicles material compatible with 10 per cent ethanol (E10) and 3 per cent methanol (M3) blends by 2025.
It recommended making specific vehicles compatible with 20 per cent ethanol (E20)-blended gasoline depending upon sustained availability of fuels with separately labelled dispensing at fuel stations. For four-wheelers, SIAM said if CNG infrastructure is further doubled from the 2020 level of 3,000 stations, penetration of CNG vehicles is likely to increase to more than 5.2 million vehicles.
In a white paper on 'Alternative Fuels for Vehicles' released recently, the industry body said that while the electrification of fleet will be a major help towards providing energy security and improving the environment, “India needs to work on other efforts, not only to complement this effort, considering the ultimate objective of improving India's energy security.”
Start Upping the EV Game
The Indian startup ecosystem has been adopting electric mobility intensively. The bus aggregator ZipGo has started fleets in EVs whereas car rental startup Zoomcar also started electrifying their vehicles. Ashok Leyland forayed into electric buses a year ago. Mahindra & Mahindra also started its electric car-hailing service Glyd. We also have electric three-wheeler operators like SmartE.
The concept of swappable batteries has also become quite popular, thanks to Orxa, GoGreenBov and Ultraviolette providing the option. Among the biggest names working to set up the swappable battery infrastructure across the country for electric bikes and electric auto-rickshaws is Chetan Maini, the co-founder of SUN Mobility, known for building India’s first electric car, Reva (now part of the Mahindra group).
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