Indian Electric Vehicle Conundrum: A tale of opportunities amid uncertainties

New Delhi: because the inaugural edition of the planet EV Day began on 9 September 2020, the excitement around the prospects of an electrified mobility future is growing globally. While consumers, businesses and governments are proactively pushing for e-mobility, EV adoption rates in many countries, including India, paint a grim picture.

This is reflected within the incontrovertible fact that within the fiscal year 2019-2020, total EV sales in India accounted for fewer than a fraction of 1% of the sales of conventional vehicles. However, a better check out the segment-wise sales figures shows that the general public transport vehicles, especially E-rickshaws, contribute 13% of annual three-wheeler sales as compared to a mere 0.15% of e-4W and 0.71% of e-2W sales. This brings to light two critical paradigms. Firstly, the speed of uptake depends on the ‘purpose’ or ‘end-usage’ of the vehicle and, secondly, there are structural barriers within the supply and demand side equation of the EV ecosystem.

The Indian EV narrative is essentially being shaped by various policy interventions at the national and sub-national levels which are being supplemented by a mess of regulations concerning EVs and charging infrastructure. during this context of frequently changing policy and regulatory landscape, where transformative ideas, often disruptive sometimes, are being rapidly devised and implemented for EVs and related issues, the necessity to retrospectively assess an equivalent becomes crucial.

In order to make sure the effectiveness of such policies, some hindsight checks are often made before notifying and implementing an EV policy by the nodal department of the government.

Firstly, there’s a disjunction between the intent and targets set for EV adoption across states and even at the national level. The rationale for targeting a group proportion of total vehicles sold to be electric should have clear linkages with the overarching objectives of getting EVs within the first place, i.e. emission reduction. as long as India has clearly laid out international climate goals within the sort of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), these should be used as a benchmark to estimate and set realistic targets across different states, or maybe cities. In one such study, an identical approach has been adopted to estimate the number of vehicles required within the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan, if India has got to achieve its INDC targets.

Secondly, given the price-sensitivity of Indian markets and consumers, there’s a requirement to revisit the supply-demand matching equation. within the backdrop of Indian Motown facing one among the worst slowdowns, careful diagnosis and structural transformations in both the supply-side and demand-side factors of EV production is required.

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