Last month, the Indian Govt announced its new plan for making the country more electric vehicle- and environment-friendly. It wants that all new three-wheelers sold in the country to be fully electric by April 2023 and all new 150cc and under two-wheelers sold to be fully electric by April 2025.
While this is a great initiative towards a greener future, it is a bit unrealistic and irrational. Many industry leaders share their concern about the Govt’s plan. This is what Bajaj and TVS have to say about it.
Rajiv Bajaj commented, “I completely agree with the spirit of this initiative in that India must demonstrate a pioneer rather than laggard mindset. However, I have three execution-related concerns.”
“First, it may be impractical to target such a scale when none of the stakeholders currently possess any meaningful experience with any of the pieces of the EV puzzle. Secondly, it is ill-timed to target a date so close to BS-VI implementation. And finally, to target two- and three-wheelers but not cars, etc makes it an incomplete initiative.”
“An appropriate middle path to my mind would be in the first phase to target such a changeover through Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ) norms/electric vehicles for all vehicle categories from a particular date such as 2023 or 2025, starting with the most polluted cities of India. Based on the learnings from that experience, a collective plan can be put together to scale up as desired.”
Venu Srinivasan said, “Automakers everywhere are supportive of the overall goal of introducing electric vehicles (EVs) and easing consumers into electric mobility. As a result, we (TVS Motor Co) have been doing serious development work to ensure we can offer a mass-market EV product that delivers on safety and high performance. This is necessary to co-opt consumers into making a switch, so it’s driven by consumer willingness and, therefore, adopted easily and widely. The supporting infrastructure for charging also needs to be as robust as conventional fuel options.”
“Globally, the auto industry is still a long way away from all of this, as is India. To force an unrealistic deadline for mass adoption of electric two- and three-wheelers will not just create consumer discontent, but it risks derailing auto manufacturing in India that supports four million jobs.”
“We need gradual and seamless adoption of EVs to avoid such collateral damage and ensure our technology-driven disruption is positive and lasting.”
We would definitely like to have more electric vehicle options in the country at affordable prices. However, a lot would need to be done to make India an EV-friendly country. For example, the infrastructure needs to be developed, people need to be made aware of such vehicles, etc. Indian Govt’s plan is unquestionably appreciated by us and by all brands, however, we can’t ignore the reality. What do you have to say about all this?