- In September 2017, government said by 2030, all cars would be e-vehicles
- India aims to have six million e-vehicles on roads by 2020
- No mandatory policy will find favour with auto manufacturers
New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced on February 15 that the government was not considering a national policy on electric vehicles. The announcement contradicts the Union government’s earlier stance of replacing all vehicles on India’s roads with e-vehicles by 2030, an idea that was met with skepticism by car manufacturers across India. At a press conference, Mr Gadkari along with NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that there was no need for an exclusive e-vehicle policy right away.
In September 2017, Mr Gadkari had said that car manufacturers must switch to eco-friendly options to lessen vehicular emissions and all cars on India’s roads would be e-vehicles, by 2030. As per the government’s earlier vision, it estimated 6 million electric vehicles on India’s roads by 2020. Reacting to the earlier stance, several auto manufacturers had voiced their concerns as having only e-vehicles on roads by 2030 seemed an improbable target, due to both cost and infrastructural constraints.
Now the Union Minister for Road Transport said that instead of a binding policy, there will only be rules related to e-vehicles, finalised by NITI Aayog. Mr Gadkari said that instead of a stringent policy, action plans were necessary and would be more effective to ensure more e-vehicles on India’s roads.
One of the drawbacks of the government’s earlier stance was the lack of infrastructure. E-vehicle charging points in India, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities are low in number. Without developing enough such charging points, setting a deadline was overambitious, felt auto experts.
Merely setting a deadline would not have worked anyway, as switching to e-vehicles is completely will be a long process, taking years. A gradual approach, concentrating on improvement of infrastructure such as e-vehicle charging points, domestic manufacture of e-vehicles, development of low-cost e-vehicles should be taken up by the government, said Vineet Mishra, Chief Programme Director, Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre.
Mr Gadkari also announced that the policy to scrap 15-year-old commercial vehicles was ready. The policy, which aims to curb vehicular pollution, will ensure that 15-year-old commercial vehicles, which constitute for only 2.5 per cent of India’s automobile force but accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s vehicular pollution. Scrapping such vehicles will effectively lessen India’s air pollution burden and also make space for eco-friendly commercial vehicles to operate in roads.