Though India has set an ambitious target to usher in 100% electric mobility by 2030, the electric vehicle industry continues to flounder with negligible market share, and high price tag is not the only issue deterring buyers.
Despite incentives by the federal and state governments, electric vehicle sale in India is not even 1% of the total. In 2016, only 22,000 electric vehicles were sold in India, of which four-wheeler sales was just 2,000, reports Quint website.
One of the infrastructures needed for charging these vehicles is adequate power, but in many parts of India regular electric supply continues to be an issue. There are hardly any charging stations for electric cars on the highways right now. With only a handful of pure electric vehicles available in the country, primarily two-wheelers, most charging is done from household outlets.
Moreover, the Indian government is yet to introduce a standard for charging infrastructure. Work to define these standards, or Bharat Charging Standards as they have come to be known, is still on. Unless they are formulated, original equipment makers and charging station providers will not be able to finalize their investment plans. They fear the infrastructure they set up right now might become redundant once the standards are introduced.
“A standardized charging unit allows the country to develop a robust, extensive and reliable infrastructure. At the same time, it allows people more variety of electric vehicles to choose from since all vehicles have a standard charging feature. Electric vehicle owners don’t have to worry about charging infrastructure for each individual brand,” Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric, told Business Standard.
Apart from the environmental appeal, the government push for electric vehicles is based on two other aspects, the falling costs of renewable energy and cheaper lithium ion batteries used in these vehicles.
If locally available, cheap renewable energy can be used to fuel electric vehicle. It can help the government cut down drastically on costly fossil fuel imports.
Lithium ion batteries continue to be the most costly part of any electric vehicle. However, in the past few years the prices have fallen leading to widespread optimism. A McKinsey study estimated that the cost of lithium ion batteries had fallen from over US$ 1,000 per kWh to $227 per kWh in 2016 and by 2030 could fall below US$ 100 per kWh.
India’s growing automobile market and its push for electric vehicles has now even caught the fancy of global players like Tesla who want to establish their presence there.