The debate over Delhi's air quality and Supreme Court's banning of registration for diesel vehicles is set to be the catalyst for revival of electric vehicles. "If the odd-even rule is continued and consciousness on air pollution spreads to other states, this will be a turning point for electric vehicles in India," said Sohinder Gill, director, corporate affairs at society for manufacturers of electric vehicles (SMEV).
There is an increased demand from traditional car manufacturers GM, Toyota, Volkswagen and others to bring down import duty, so that they can bring their electric cars to India.
According to various reports, the department of heavy industries is in talks with Delhi government to launch electric and hybrid vehicles in the city on a pilot basis the funding for which—over and above Rs 80 lakh (cost of one CNG bus)—will be borne by the Centre.
The national electric mobility mission plan, which kicked off in April this year, has already seen a jump in sales of electric vehicles by 100 per cent. This is due to the 20 per cent subsidy for buyers of such vehicles.
India currently has 5.5 lakh electric two-wheelers and 3,000 electric cars, mostly Reva.
Government's next step for providing an impetus for usage of electric vehicles will be to develop charging infrastructure. The process has already begun and is in early stages right now.
A charging station for two-wheelers and a Reva requires an investment of Rs 30,000. Charging stations for heavier vehicles such as buses entails an investment of Rs 10 lakh, lesser than that required for a petrol pump.
Lithium battery prices are expected to come down in next two years, giving the much needed fillip to electric two-wheelers. Right now, electric two-wheelers run on lead batteries.
China has already taken the lead in electric vehicles with 200 million electric two-wheelers being sold per year. Two hundred cities in China have imposed a complete ban on petrol two wheelers.
SMEV’s Gill says that there has been an increased activity on electric vehicles of late, thanks to the pollution debate.
New companies have joined his association and start-ups such as Big Basket are exploring the idea of using electric vehicles as delivery vans. Ola has tied up with Reva for electric taxis and there has been talk of two wheeler e-taxi as well.