In what can be termed a giant step forward for the electric vehicle manufacturing industry in the country, state owned oil and gas company, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), announced the launch of the country’s very first (public) electric vehicle charging station. This station has been set up in an IOC petrol pump in the city of Nagpur in Maharashtra. This electric vehicle charging station is a collaboration between IOC and popular cab-on-call service provider, Ola. “As India’s leading oil refiner and marketer, IOC considers promoting ecological sustainability as part of its core business. Thus, this partnership with Ola is the right step forward as we re-imagine how India will commute in coming years”, said IOC in a statement. The city of Nagpur has awaited this launch ever since it adopted the Electric Public Transportation Model – the first of its kind in the country.
News reports suggest that there are about 200 electric vehicle charging stations and 56,000 petrol pumps across the station. These electric charging stations, however, are not available to the public.
Adoption of Electric Vehicles
For a country of people obsessed with owning their own cars and two wheelers, India certainly has been extremely reluctant to cast its lot with electric vehicles. Till quite recently, the Reva Electric Car was the only electric vehicle most Indians had heard about. The Indian government has, on the other hand, come up with its super ambitious plan to come in with a large scale shift of vehicles to electric power by the year 2030. This means that if the government pushes to implement this policy most of the vehicles on Indian streets will be powered by electricity rather than petrol and diesel. CNG vehicles will also be phased out. The idea in itself is a wonderful one.
The adoption of electric passenger vehicles is expected to save India about USD 300 billion (About INR 120 lakh crore) in oil imports. The reduction on carbon footprint too will be a significant one. Such a shift will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 1 gigatonne. The plan is for some 460 lakh two, three, and four wheelers to be sold in India by the year 2030. A report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the Rocky Mountain Institute said, “This annual market size would present an opportunity for Indian companies to become leaders in EV (electric vehicle) technology on a global scale”.
The GoI’s ambitious plan, though very beneficial to Indian society and economy, is difficult to achieve. There are three key hurdles that must be overcome for it to be a success. The first is consumer awareness. The second is availability of charging stations. With the introduction of the first oil company sponsored charging station in Nagpur we hope that electric charging stations collocated with petrol pumps will be easily accessible across the country. Pricing of electric vehicles is possibly the most important hurdle that has to be overcome. The Indian automobile market is very price sensitive and government subsidies and schemes to lower the price of these EV will go a long way in incentivizing them, in turn prompting the consumer to opt for them over petrol and diesel cars.
More EV Manufacturing Plans
The government’s announcement of its intentions to initiate a large scale shift from fuel to electric powered vehicles has breathed a new life into the industry. New initiatives and plans are being announced each day. Recently, Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation have announced a collaboration in the field of EV manufacturing. The two companies together will be manufacturing EVs that will hit he Indian markets by 2020. After Mahindra and Mahindra’s unsuccessful attempt to bring in an electric car revolution we are hopeful that the collaboration between these two automobile giants will bring in the next new wave of change. Suzuki is one of India’s leading automobile manufacturer and about 50 percent of the passenger cars in the country are sold by Maruti-Suzuki.