India’s efforts to implement the vision
First step to achieve the ambitious goal would be 100% electrification of the country. According to Government data, there are 4141 villages yet to get electricity. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, says that all villages in India would receive electricity by 2018. However, the Government of India considers a village as “electrified” if only 10% of the household has access to electricity.
Considering this, analysts predict 2022-23 to be the time-frame by which nearly every household in India will have electricity. Fortunately both electrification and electricity generation has been picking up pace in India since last few years, and currently India is world’s 3rd largest power generating country.
Tamil Nadu recently unveiled world’s 2nd largest solar power plant.
Next step would be setting up a network of charging stations. India needs to follow the footsteps of Japan (which has 40000 charging stations), USA (42000 charging stations) and China (150000 charging stations).
Fortunately for us, Government-run power corporation NTPC has started to install charging stations in Delhi and Noida. A private firm, ACME has collaborated with Ola cabs to provide battery swapping and charging stations ‘EcoCharge’ to Ola for their pilot project at Nagpur, in which 200 electric vehicles (including bus, auto and cars) have been launched in the first stage on May 26, 2017. Ola invested more than Rs 50 crore in this project, starting with 50 plus charging points across Nagpur.
ACME-Ola charging stations
Next, the government should invest on building an ecosystem of manufacturing electric vehicles, supporting industries and components. The Heavy Industries Ministry had estimated a total requirement of about Rs 14,000 Crore for the program, and allocated Rs 175 crore for initial analysis in FY2017-18. Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso recently announced plans to jointly produce lithium-ion battery packs in India.
What else needs to be done?
The government needs to reach out to people and encourage citizens to think about electric vehicles. Piyush Goyal has pointed out that initially the government can handhold the EV industry for 2-3 years to help it stabilize. He has also said that the Ministry of Heavy Industries and the NITI Aayog are working on a policy for promoting electric vehicles. This can be done using the following steps:
- Provide subsidy to bring down electric vehicle cost.
- Waive off parking fees for electric cars in public parking places.
- Provide extra tax benefits to companies who manufacture electric vehicles.
- Convert all official vehicles and vehicles used by ministers, judges and other government bodies to electric ones to set an example.
The vision may look overly ambitious now, and 100% shift to electric vehicles may not be possible by 2030, but even if India achieves 50 percent of the target, it will be immensely beneficial to the country, and will surely set an example to the rest of the developing world.
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