Just two years ago, the Indian government proposed an ambitious program that would make every new vehicle sold an electric vehicle by 2030.
Some Indian cities have among the world's highest hazardous air pollution levels. It many cases the situation is even worse that Chinese cities.India is the second most populated country with only China being more populous. The Indian plan was to reach the goal by private and corporate partnerships, and government incentives the government said earlier this year.
Plan may have been too ambitious
The Asia Review reported recently that the government has concluded that a more realistic goal would see 30 percent of new vehicles being plug-in cars by 2030. This position was confirmed by R.K. Singh the power minister.
Singh said recently at a recent luncheon meeting: "We must ensure that by 2030. 30 percent of our vehicles run on electricity". He claimed that such a percentage would let the country "leave behind a better world for our grandchildren."
Within two or three weeks, Singh is expected to release his ministry's policies and regulations for both electric utilities and providers of EV charging stations.
Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and highways, had suggested that there was not even a need for the EV program at all.
Challenges to India's plan
Roughly three million new vehicles are sold each year in India just about a tenth the size of the Chinese market. China is still considering by what year it should ban sales of new combustion engines.
The per-capita annual income in India is just $1,670. Unless prices of EVs come down drastically vehicles using fossil fuels to power them will be much cheaper.
There may be problems setting up a charging infrastructure for EVs. 50 million homes in India do not even have electricity. Fully forty percent of new vehicles are made by Maruti Suzuki, mostly subcompact and minicars. Being so dominant the company may influence the final policy of the government.
Deepesh Rathore, who is director of the Emerging Markets Automotive Advisors in London said that India needs to build a charging infrastructure and the government needs to provide a clear policy direction but neither has yet been delivered.
Indian EV maker claims its vehicles will soon be profitable
Mahindra, that makes a line of small limited-range electric cars claims that it is already almost profitable and it plans to fully embrace the production of EVs in the future. Mahindra claimed that as businesses begin to see a future in manufacturing EV's government subsidies will not be necessary.
Chairman Anand Mahindra said: "We’ve just been believers for a while, haven’t been making any money, but now the tipping point seems to be reached. This is the single biggest business opportunity for the next couple of decades. Anyone not looking at these opportunities is going to miss out on growth."
A Mahindra EV is featured in the appended video.