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All Electric Nation By 2030?

Source: Wikipedia

Member of Parliament, Piyush Goyal said recently that India aims to have only electric cars on the road by 2030. While this sounds great, here are my thoughts.
As of 2016, India had only 6,000 registered Electric Vehicles on road. This is just a fraction of what China, the leader in this segment has.
Image result
Piyush Goyal
Source: Google Images

There are two main reasons why an average Indian does not buy an electric car:
  • The price they pay is too high for the features.
  • Lack of charging points.
Take the example of the Mahindra e2O. It costs about INR 8 lakh (USD 12,500) (ex-showroom). About one third of the price is for the lithium ion battery.
This is expensive and further users have to pay for charging point(s) and replace the battery in 5 years. This translates to an operating cost of INR 12 lakhs (USD 18,500) in five years excluding consumables.

This car is average in terms of comfort, speed, power etc. The range is only about a 100 km on a full charge that takes a couple of hours. Overall, this car is not worth the money.

Countries such as China and the USA have multiple models of Electric Vehicles. The range of cars offered vary from budget hatchbacks to high end Teslas.
The success of cars in these countries is due to the elimination of the problems mentioned above and incentive schemes offered to potential customers.

China:
China has a little over half a million Electric cars as of 2016.
The Chinese Government has set up a total of 150,000 charging points across the nation. It plans to raise its total number to about a million.{1} That is over one charging point for every car! 
Further, according to China's Thirteenth-Five Year Plan, they plan to build enough charging stations to sustain 5 million electric cars by 2020 (Source: China Daily).

USA:
In USA, reduced electricity charges is an incentive being offered to electric car owners. Between certain fixed timings throughout the day, the charges are comparatively lower only for electric cars. Many paid parking lots come equipped with charging facilities.
Buying Teslas come with varied incentives from State to State. While all states offer a $7,500 tax credit, certain states offer car pool lane access, free municipal parking etc. {2}

India:
India offers very basic incentives which have so far failed to attract hordes of customers unlike other countries. Certain states do not levy VAT. Some offer a partial/complete rebate of VAT.
Delhi offers a pretty good incentive for select cars - 15% price subsidy and a road tax and registration fee waiver. {3}


Tesla:
Tesla's success in USA and China is attributed to the way they managed to transform the image of Electric Vehicles.
Tesla promised comfort, power, speed and many modern features such as Autopilot and automatic parking. The main feature that distinguishes Tesla from most other electric cars is the range.

Tesla has also taken into consideration long road trips. They have set up superchargers in many  highway locations in the USA.These superchargers can charge a Tesla 50% in 20 minutes and it is free.

The Verdict:
For Goyal's vision to be succesful, India needs to seriously implement policies and solutions immediately to increase public interest in eco-friendly electric cars.
It is good that Mr.Goyal has thought about it in 2017 when we have over a decade to implement it. But, unless work is started immediately to attain this goal, his vision will only remain a thought.

The following is what the Government can do:
  1. Setting up of Charging points in Malls, Public Parking and in the CBDs/places where commuters frequent.
  2. Welcoming companies such as Tesla* into India by offering tax exemption for a set period of time.
  3. Complete waiver of Road tax and Registration Fee.
  4. Subsidized loans. The subsidy will be paid by the Government.
  5. Tax credit system for those buying electric cars.
  6. Cheaper electricity.
Goyal's thought is highly laudable, but whether it can be implemented within a decade, according to me, is highly doubtful. Politicians in our country often have wild dreams which they either implement hastily (Read: TN Minister's Thermocol Dream) or do not implement at all.

This idea also conforms to the goals of the Paris Agreement which notably has been ratified by India. The main aims of the Agreement are to lower green house gas emissions and create funding for this purpose.

By analysing and implementing policies similar to that of other nations, I believe that we can curb pollution in India greatly.

The Donald Trump administration blatantly accused India of heavily benefiting from the Paris Deal since we do not have to implement many of the policies mentioned in the deal until 2030.
Implementing policies regarding the lowering of emissions can show that India truly does care for the environment and can maintain its image in the world community and adhere to the Agreement even before we are legally bound to do so.

    *Tesla is planning to introduce its fleet in India with the introduction of its 'budget' Model 3 in India.

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    All thoughts and views expressed are solely the author's and has been published under no influence or any sort. The intentions behind this article is purely and solely for debate purposes and to express the author's opinion which he is entitled to under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.

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