The Indian government seems to be sending confusing signals to automakers. Months after erstwhile union power minister (now Railways minister) Piyush Goyal said that the government wants every vehicle sold in India to run on electricity by 2030, his colleague Babul Supriyo – India’s minister of state for heavy industry – has refuted this. In a reply to the Rajya Sabha – the upper house of India’s parliament, he has said that there are no plans to make all vehicles run on electricity in India by 2030.
Here is exactly what Mr. Supriyo said,
There are, at present, no plans under consideration of the Department of Heavy Industry to make all vehicles in the country powered by electricity by 2030.
After Mr. Goyal’s statements, many automakers in India announced that they’re preparing to launch electric cars. Market leader Maruti Suzuki announced that it would soon commence a study to find out what buyers want from electric cars. It has also tied up with Toyota for electric car technology, and is setting up a lithium ion battery factory at Gujarat through a tie-up with Toyota-owned parts maker Denso. Other automakers like Mahindra and Tata Motors have also announced electric car plans for the Indian market.
Many automakers have called the government’s move to seek full electrifcation of India’s vehicles by 2030 as impractical and even polluting. Mercedes Benz India’s Roland Folger has stated that unless India moves away from electricity produced from coal, to non-polluting sources of electricity, electric cars will be more polluting than Bharat Stage 6 emission norms compliant petrol and diesel cars. Toyota India’s top bosses have also said that hybrid cars are to be encouraged as a bridge before complete electrification of cars.
With contradictory signals coming from Indian government ministers, it remains to be seen how automakers will react to car electrification plans.