India Says Never Targeted 100% Electric Mobility By 2030, Scales Down Aim

Government scales down target, to turn 30 percent vehicles electric by 2030.

A charging plugs connects an  electric vehicle (EV) to a charging station in London, U.K. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)
A charging plugs connects an electric vehicle (EV) to a charging station in London, U.K. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

India scaled down its ambition of turning most of its cars electric by 2030 as the transition to battery-powered vehicles is expected to be slow and Asia’s third-largest economy has yet to take the first step to build infrastructure.

“The government is focusing on creating charging infrastructure and policy framework so that by 2030, more than 30 percent of vehicles are electric vehicles,” Ajay Kumar Bhalla, secretary at the Ministry of Power, said at the launch of national electric mobility programme in New Delhi yesterday. “My message to the industry is, come and invest in manufacturing of e-vehicles and batteries.”

India aimed to push electric vehicles to cut reliance on oil to lower import bill and for a cleaner environment. A March 2017 statement quoted Piyush Goyal, now the minister of coal and railways, as saying that the Prime Minister has directed a group of senior ministers to “lead the initiative and make sure that by 2030 most, if not all, vehicles in India are powered by electricity”.

Yet, the country still doesn’t allow companies to set up charging stations as only power distributors can sell power. New guidelines are expected. As automakers sought clarity on the road map for electric mobility by 2030, the NITI Aayog recently said India doesn't need a policy for it.

The government later said it hasn’t specified a timeframe for 100 percent electric mobility. The Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises has not set any target for electric cars by 2030, according to a written reply in Lok Sabha by Babul Supriyo, the minister in charge.

Even Bhalla reiterated that 100 percent electric mobility was never the target.

If 30 percent of vehicles by 2030 are supposed to be EVs, then we must have charging infrastructure in place. I don’t know whether 100 percent will happen or not.
Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Power

Yet, the scaled-down ambition of 30 percent, or 6-7 million electric vehicles by 2030, was still be a big number, Kumar Kandaswamy, partner at Deloitte, told BloombergQuint. “The reason for non-electric vehicles to continue will be likely issues in accessing raw material for batteries and the price differential between EVs and conventional powertrains.”

Hybrids with efficient internal-combustion engines and other non-polluting powertrains will contribute to a cleaner environment, he said.

Watch this discussion with Santosh Kamath, partner at KPMG.