India does need need an electric vehicle policy, said Amitabh Kant, the CEO of Niti Aayog – the government’s think tank. During the press conference, Nitin Gadkari, the union minister of roads, transport and highways, also said that there’s no need for an electric vehicles policy for India.
What this means is, the Indian government is not likely to push for all vehicles to run on electricity by 2030 and will instead focus on an ‘action plan’. While the finer details of this action plan are yet to be revealed, it seems likely that the government will focus on setting up electric vehicle charging infrastructure around the country, and let the auto industry decide on when India is ready for electric vehicles.
Here are some comments made by Niti Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant,
Day-to-day technological innovations are taking place in the automobile sector. We are making an action plan on electric vehicles which will be given to all ministries and we will monitor it. We don’t require a policy on it as such. Technology is ahead of rules and regulations. We cannot bind it. The government will take a final call on whether a policy is required or not.
These statements were made at a press conference at the Niti Aayog premises in Delhi, which followed the inauguration of two electric vehicle charging stations. Multiple automakers including Hero MotoCorp and Renault have asked the Indian government to frame a clear electric vehicle policy, which would enable them to introduce electric vehicles in India.
However, in the absence of a clear policy, it’s unlikely that automakers would shift enmasse from petrol and diesel powered vehicles, to electric powered vehicles. Presently, the battery cost of electric vehicles is the main barrier, making electric vehicles (EV) very pricey compared to petrol and diesel powered options. A shift from petrol and diesel vehicles to EVs is likely to happen only if battery costs come down.