India's path to electrification of vehicles has been given a strong boost after reportedly a dozen carmakers have kicked off their electric vehicle (EV) plans for India.
The government has also planned to completely electrify its train service by 2030 to reduce dependency on diesel-based engines which cause a lot of emissions-based problems.
In an interview with Economic Times, Pawan Goenka, MD at Mahindra & Mahindra claimed, "The evolution of EVs in India will take a different path when compared to China or Europe". He also said, "The thrust will come from institutional buyers, the government and shared mobility providers. The EVs are not yet viable for personal buyers, but it is only a matter of time."
Mahindra has committed nearly $700 million to EV projects and according to the report, due to a reduction in costs by 50 percent of EV batteries, experts believe that EVs will become increasingly viable in the next five years.
The drive for EVs can be attributed to the Niti Aayog policy document on EVs, which has given a roadmap of complete electrification in the next 15-years. The stepping stone was the first government order of 10,000 electric buses in India's top 11 cities which was worth Rs 2,000 crore. Mahindra has partnered with Ola in alliance with Nagpur municipal corporation to roll out a few 100 EVs. Mahindra is also partnering with Uber and some state governments to implement EV solutions.
The Bharat Stage Protocol for Charging has also been formed which will ensure the building of a framework for future charging stations.
One has to consider the lack of charging station infrastructure in India. According to the report, "Besides charging infrastructure, the need for fast chargers, parking spots, and swappable batteries are areas that require robust solutions and public-private partnerships."
In the aftermath, a partnership between Suzuki and Toyota was made alongside Mahindra and Ford for planning EVs in India. The report has claimed that Honda Motor, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volvo, and JLR are also drafting their EV strategies for India.
RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki said that since 75 percent of the vehicles sold in India were small cars, "How to electrify small cars and make them affordable is one of the challenges we have to face." Bhargava said that it will also focus on setting up charging stations when Maruti Suzuki starts selling EVs in 2020.
According to Vikram Kirloskar, vice-chairman of the Toyota-Kirloskar Motor group, the need for internal combustion engine based vehicles is also necessary. According to Kirloskar, hybrid vehicles are needed to cut down on oil imports.
Although EV accounts for about one percent of the total share globally, the report claims that this number would be rising to nearly 25 percent by 2030.