Now this is an incredible statement by our Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr Nitin Gadkari. He and his government has sent a clear message to automakers to move to alternative-fuel vehicles!
These are sweet sounding words for Electric Vehicle lovers all over India!
When a minister from the government is so determined to promote Electric Vehicles, it will be a matter of time before we start seeing changes in our cities and towns.
What are the implications of such a strongly worded sentence?
I'm more interested in that, rather than the hundreds of negative opinion pieces, you see in the media - generally by petrol heads and EV skeptics.
So lets get right to it in this episode of PlugInIndia Musings!
and Ola Electric Charging Station at Nagpur.
Here are some of the initiatives that are complete or are being planned under Mr Gadkari to promote electric vehciles
- Nagpur became the first city in India to have an electric mass mobility system. It will now have a fleet of 200 new electric vehicles, which includes taxis, buses and e-rickshaws.
- A fleet of 200 new electric vehicles, which includes taxis, buses and e-rickshaws are operational in Nagpur.
- 100 of Mahindra’s new e2o Plus vehicles will be part of the fleet. The rest will consist of vehicles sourced from other companies like Tata Motors, Kinetic, BYD and TVS, among others.
- Speaking about the project , Mr Gadkari said - "Promoting electric vehicles is our priority. We want electric buses, auto-rickshaws and other vehicles to ply in the country. We are engaged in initial talks with SoftBank for loans at low interest rate for a green project. We want to introduce two lakh electric buses for public transport."
- There are big plans to develop low-cost lithium-ion batteries in India and efforts are on to remodel the battery made by Indian Space Research Organisation to make it fit for use in electric vehicles.
- Suzuki Motor Corp has partnered Toshiba Corp and Denso Corp to manufacture automotive lithium ion battery packs in India.
- A 12 per cent levy on pure electric vehicles (EVs) is applicable under the Goods and Services Tax regime, a move that reflects the government’s intention to push its adoption.
- "By the end of this year, we will have electric buses, taxis, autorickshaws... We are very serious about it and the automobile industry is also very serious about it" says Mr Gadkari
- To provide last-mile connectivity to metro travellers in Gurgaon, Gadkari flagged off the fleet of first batch of 1,000 e-autorickshaws from the Huda City Centre metro station.
- Established under the Ministry of Power, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) floated tenders for 10,000 electric cars, of which Mahindra will supply 150 electric cars, while Tata Motors will supply 350 of the 500 EV's to be delivered in the first phase. The orders for supply of 9,500 electric cars in the second phase will be issued after the completion of deliveries of 500 EVs in the first phase.
Okay, let us pause here. What is amazing is that, Tata Motors have won majority of the tender order without having a single production EV in the Indian market !
This win was among the EV community in India. But all of us felt that, it's for the great good that Mahindra Electric have some real competition.
A shocked Mahindra further issued corporate media statements. The M&M managing director Pawan Goenka said - "We have been selling electric vehicles in the country for the the last five years. We have an idea about the costing of various components. So we find it difficult to comprehend the pricing offered by the other bidder (Tata Motors). So we will have to take a hard look as whether it would be justifiable to participate in the second phase".
Really, Mahindra? How can you justify selling the e2o Plus P8 at 12 Lakhs in certain markets when all of us know that battery pack should cost you only Rs 2,50,000.
First you sell your electric cars at premium rates to ensure sales of your SUV and ICE cars, then you don't provide DC quick charge ports to e2o Plus P4 or classic e2o users and then you crib about Tata's pricing? Mahindra Electric is fooling no one here, its time to suck it up and prioritize electric mobility.
- Also the EESL has invited tenders for nearly 4,000 electric vehicle charging stations in NCR alone! Many Indian as well as MNC players are participating to create massive charging station infrastructure. Commenting on the development, Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director at Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), stated "There is full justification for a consumer to start using electric cars. Once you have 4,000 charging stations, once you have 10,000 vehicles in Delhi and NCR, people will start demanding electric cars."
Damn right, people! No more complaining about lack of infrastructure. By the way infrastructure is not mandatory to use EV's. Every home and business has a socket. All we need to do is plug in as shown by our amazing EV community all over India over the last 4+ years.
- Mr Gadkari visited Tesla Motors in California to make India its Asia manufacturing hub, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has offered it land near major Indian ports to facilitate exports to South and South East Asian countries.
- The government will be ready with its electric vehicle policy by December this year. Which will cover both light and heavy vehicles like cars and buses.
- Regarding charging stations - Mr Gadkari has added - "Already, we are in the process of a Cabinet note where we are going to plan charging stations... It is in the last stage and will be done as early as possible."
- Accelerated adoption of electric and shared vehicles could save $60 billion in diesel and petrol cost while cutting down as much as 1 gigatonne (GT) of carbon emission for India by 2030, government think-tank Niti Aayog said in a joint report with Rock Mountain Institute earlier this month
So kudos to our government for kickstarting our EV Industry, which will create new industries leading to many jobs over the coming decades.
What are the implications that have arisen due to these aggressive moves by our government?
- Multiple exciting startups are working on personal mobility solutions like - electric cycles, e-Scooters, e-MotorCycles. Some of them are Spero, LightSpeed, eAdicct e-Bike kits, Ather Energy and Tork Motorcycles.
- New companies like Okinawa Scooters have launched e-Scooters that are doing very well over the last year.
- Companies like Kinetic Green are already market leaders in the e-Rickshaw and e-Cargo vehicle segment.
- Traditional car companies like Mahindra and Tata have plans to launch multiple EV's in the coming years.
- Foreign based MNC's like Nissan, Tesla, Volvo are eyeing the Indian EV market.
- Indian Startups and Foreign companies are launching Charge Station products.
- Power companies like Tata Power, NTPC are getting on the act and installing EV charge stations.
- Thousands of enterprising individuals are creating small businesses by opening dealers, showrooms to promote and sell EV's!
- The most important implication - Massive media coverage on a daily basis about Electric Vehicles. I remember couple of years back, there was hardly any news on Electric Vehicles and now there goes not a single day without news on EVs.
Thinly veiled advise to Maruti?
What about Maruti Suziki - the Indian Behemoth that sells thousands of ICE cars to our Indian market? Well, they have made a statement on EV's at last!
Company chairman R.C. Bhargava said about EV's - "As soon as we can determine the customer preference we will come up with such models. In the meantime, focus will be to increase fuel efficiency". This is a classic example of corporate talk. This company is minting money by selling thousands of pollution causing, oil gulping cars to the public who blindly trust the 'brand'. Why would they invest money in RnD that would be needed to create an EV? They are in a comfort zone.
But not anymore!
As soon we heard this statement from Maruti, Mr Gadkari said the following at Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures’ (SIAM’s) annual convention
"We should move towards alternative fuel... I am going to do this, whether you like it or not. And I am not going to ask you. I will bulldoze it. For pollution, for imports, my ideas are crystal clear... The government has a crystal-clear policy to reduce imports and curb pollution. Those supporting the government will have an advantage and those busy 'minting money' (Maruti - are you listening?) will be in trouble. I urge you (auto makers) politely to do research. First, when I urged you for electric vehicles, you said battery is costly. I coaxed you to start at least. Now, the batteries cost 40 per cent less. And if you start now, cost will be reduced further on mass production."
We are pretty sure, this was a thinly veiled assault on traditional auto companies like Maruti, Hero , Honda and others.
And we absolutely certain these companies will come in line!
Our government has moved at an 'electric' pace setting targets, policies, creating proof of concept projects, getting the media to report on EVs on a daily basis.
This has resulted in a new generation of Industry that is being created, by smart people in startups, who are making the traditional companies to sit up and take notice and more importantly make changes.
Let us credit this massive movement towards electric vehicles due to the aggressive moves by Mr Gadkari and our government.