The impacts from widespread adoption of electric cars will be significant, as people within the car industry, oil producers and governments are starting to realize. Photo: iStock

With the Indian government setting an ambitious target to usher in 100% electric mobility by 2030, various state governments are wooing electric car manufacturers to invest in their respective states. The first to do so was Karnataka, whose capital Bangalore is the headquarters of software majors such as Infosys and Wipro.

The state plans to offer incentives and concessions to electric vehicle manufacturing sector, battery manufacturing and charging equipment enterprises. It also plans to amend law for providing mandatory charging infrastructure in all high rise buildings such as IT parks, malls and apartments. The government also plans to create a special purpose vehicle to improve charging infrastructure in Bangalore and the state.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, a prominent auto manufacturing hub, has already attracted investments worth over Rs 50 billion (US$ 77 million). This includes a Rs 40-billion (US$ 61 million) investment commitment from the JSW Group for electric cars and a Rs 11.5-billion (US$ 18 million) plan by Suzuki to set up a lithium-ion battery unit with Toshiba and Denso.

Recently, Tata Motors won a government-administered tender of Rs 11.2 billion (US$ 17 million) to sell 10,000 electric variants of its sedan Tigor to various government departments. It will manufacture these electric cars at its Sanand plant in Gujarat.

Apart from the environmental appeal, the Indian government’s 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 vehicles, it can help the government cut down drastically on costly fossil fuel imports.

However, to usher in an electric car revolution, India will have to a address its constraints related to charging infrastructure. With many parts of the country not having adequate electric power supply, this could prove to be a hurdle towards popularizing electric cars.

Moreover, the Indian government is yet to introduce a standard for charging infrastructure. Unless this is 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.