The electric revolution has the full support of the Indian government; the financial condition of the automotive market has made it difficult for a lot of manufacturers to make the transition to efficient mobility. Changing views of the authorities are also creating doubt in the general consciousness of the people about the quick-shift to electric vehicles, and the path to sustainable mobility is playing hide-and-seek under the foggy weather of changing-mindsets and lack of clarity.
Energy Efficiency Services Limited is among the world’s largest energy service companies in the world. Earlier this year, they had cleared one of the largest tenders of electric vehicle purchase, floating ten thousand vehicles. The constant fluctuation, indecisiveness and direction has led EESL to scale down their purchase plan to a third of its original scale and might encounter forfeiture.
For example, on the one hand, the union minister was found quoting that automotive manufacturers are under no pressure or time-constraint to shift to electric in entirety. Later, the same individual was found quoting, that the faster the electric mobility solutions are adopted, the more they’ll help reduce the country’s import bill and create millions of job opportunities.
He was also found quoting that the Internal combustion engines will not be forcibly phased out, and will be allowed to exist alongside the electrics. The same individual had earlier emphasized the need for the industry to completely shift to electric mobility by 2030, sending many automotive manufacturers back to their respective drawing boards.
There is an apparent lack of adequate policymaking, and the government of India has no elaborate policy on electric vehicles, making things very undecided and having no guidelines or instructions for the Electric segment to follow.
Niti Aayog has taken the dias quite a few times, to make important EV related announcements, express opinions, and verdicts. Their steering committee has released a report with an elaborate plan for the ease of the electric vehicle transition, in controlled phases, to bring down the cost of building the EV.
At first, their CEO announced an extensive plan for the re-alignment of different kinds of electric vehicles under specific time constraints. According to them, all three-wheeled and two-wheeled cars would be required to have entirely made the shift to electric by the year 2025.
Later on, this idea was dismissed by the union minister on the grounds of the slowdown that has taken its toll on the financial condition of the automotive industry.
The lack of proper awareness regarding EVs and the complete absence of appropriate electric charging infrastructure all across the country has led to doubt among the Indian car buyers. The problem has taken the form of a loop, where the manufacturers are turning to the government for providing the required infrastructure, so that people may feel more confident about buying electric cars, and contrary to their expectations, the government states the need for increased EV sales for it to be able to create infrastructure for their charging and power management.
The personal vehicle segment in electric mobility is still struggling to take off in India, and manufacturers are already neck-deep in research and development for their respective electric vehicle offerings. One of the biggest reasons among the educated and aware classes is the ill-bred fear or anxiety related to the maximum possible travel range of an EV on a full charge of its battery.
This has led many people to believe that EVs are only good for travel within the city, and highways are not something that passenger electric vehicles are equipped to cover.
Technically, the pioneer in electric vehicle engineering has been Mahindra, with their Reva electric vehicle has made its way into quite a few Indian household garages.
The EESL was planning to buy ten thousand electric vehicles as a means to replace the previous fuel-driven cars used by the various government bodies in the country. Together they constitute nearly five hundred thousand vehicles. The contract was given to both Tata and Mahindra and is now disappointingly on its way to being scrapped. The reason being cited is their inability to foresee what has been a discouraging financial year, especially in the automotive sector.
Another primary reason is the divided mindset of the industry on the whole. The two-wheeler sector has been witnessing most of the activity in the electric vehicle segment. While some companies are working towards building sustainable mobility solutions, others are stating their displeasure at the ideology and are continuing as they were.
Another electric vehicle expert was found quoting that while the common citizens may take their sweet time in making the shift to electric, the rich and famous would go in for sustainable mobility for the exclusivity of ownership and the bragging rights associated with driving a fully electric passenger car in a developing country.