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Will India be able to meet its all-electric cars target by 2030?

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Back in 1909, Henry Ford had announced, "Any customer can have a car painted in any colour that he wants so long as it is black."

The announcement came with a notice that in future Ford was going to build only one model, "Model T".

Call that a command or a rebuke, separated by more than a century, albeit in different proportions, an automaker’s reprimand is coming around onto all automakers themselves globally. And India is no exception.

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari at the auto industry’s annual conference some time ago said the automakers had no option, but to switch to more environment-friendly alternatives - notably, electric cars by 2030.

What links Ford’s and Gadkari’s declarations is the fluctuating fate of internal combustion engines (ICEs). Before the era of the Model T, fossil-fuelled vehicles had stiff competition from steam-driven and electric cars: in the 1900s, the US had as much as 80 per cent of its total cars propelled by electricity and steam. Introduction of Model T, however, effectually killed them off for the best part of a century. Times have since changed significantly. Today, as almost all developed and developing countries are pledging a time-bound phasing out of internal combustion engines, India too has jumped the electric vehicle (EV) bandwagon.

A Tesla supercharger station in California. India has only a few electric charging stations across the country. (Reuters file photo)

How is India poised to ‘let the arrow fly’?

India’s pronouncement to join its global big brothers (developed nations of the West) is an ambitious one. The government's push for electric vehicles is an evolution to what it had introduced as FAME - Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India - in 2015. India’s strategy developed by NITI Aayog is on the foundation of a three-phased approach: "Notching the arrow (2017- 2019)", "drawing the bow (2020- 2023)" and "letting the arrow fly (2024-2032)". The government has taken some actions. However, most of it is on paper, and the rubber is yet to hit the road.

While setting up manufacturing capabilities, investment in research and development (R&D), laying out a robust charging infrastructure and creating an environment of push-pull (electric vehicle supply versus customer demand generation) dynamics are all essentials to ace the game. Specific points need to be looked at........

© DailyO