The misgivings Volkswagen’s chairman voiced over electric cars’ pricing can’t be discounted either.
Year 2030 is the deadline by when all vehicles in India are to be electricity-driven and emission-free. With 14 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, India has to work hard to curb emissions, 11 per cent of which is contributed by public transport. The hugely ambitious 100 per cent conversion policy to electric traction replacing internal combustion by 2030 has got many setbacks already, and industry is out on a limb about the date by which at least public transport should be emission-free. The policy shift to cheaper batteries rather than subsidising all EVs may not be misplaced while battery prices are falling thanks to the Tesla technology. The company has also put out its first home car charger for $500, but clarity is still missing in the policy push towards EVs.
The misgivings Volkswagen’s chairman voiced over electric cars’ pricing can’t be discounted either. This is particularly relevant to India where consumers look at an average price of around $10,000 for a car rather than $35,000 overseas. The greater thrust in India will have to be on electric two-wheelers, autos and buses. In 2017, four per cent of vehicle sales was electric-driven, which is minuscule, but promising in a nation of mixed traffic density. But unless the government fixes its policy soon on alternative traction to vehicles and drives the EV ecosystem in a specific direction, even the highly-evolved automobile industry can’t be expected to deliver by a deadline of 2040 or later. The internal combustion engine may become a relic in a few decades in the First World but it might survive in India longer as policy initiatives have so far been quite muddled.