Context: Electric vehicles (EVs) may be the future of mobility but at present form a minuscule portion of the vehicles sold in India. 

More on news:

  • China is way ahead of India: As per International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2020, India has only 6 lakh electric two wheelers as of March 2019, further the country has less than 5000 cars.
  • China on the flip side is the world leader in both car and two wheeler segment having 3.4 million electric cars or 47% of the total number of electric cars in the world and close to 300 million units of electric two-wheelers as of end 2019. 

Need for India to Focus on Electric Vehicles:

  • Import Bill Reduction: Switching to EVs will help reduce the import bill as approximately 80-85%  of Indian oil demand is met through imports.
  • Eco Friendly: Running vehicles on electricity will not enhance emissions in the environment as in case of fossil fuel.
  • Health: The lesser emissions will automatically improve the health of citizens especially in highly polluted cities like Delhi and Ghaziabad.

Reason China is ahead of India:

  • China gives huge incentives on EVs, as per a NITI Aayog report it is approx. 6.5 lakh per vehicle irrespective of the vehicle type.
  • China categorizes low speed and low weight EVs as bicycles, thereby exempting them from the hustle and bustle of registration.
  • In Indian an income tax deduction of upto 1.5 lakh on interest paid towards EV loan is available but adoption of EVs has been slow due to -
    • Lack of Charging infrastructure
    • Longer Time for charging
    • Huge dependence for Lithium ion battery imports on countries like Japan, China and Taiwan.

Way Ahead:

  • The Government must focus on improving research and development so that good quality batteries are made at lower rates.
  • Prudent outlay must be given for development of charging infrastructure across the nation.
  • Timely and efficient implementation of schemes like FAME is required for improving the demand for electric vehicles.

FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India):

  • It is part of National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)
  • The first phase was launched in 2015 with the objective of augmenting demand for both hybrid and electric vehicles along with focus on early adoption of electric technologies.
  • Market creation through demand incentives was aimed at incentivizing all vehicle segments i.e. 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers Auto, Passenger 4-Wheeler vehicles, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
  • The second phase was launched in 2019 and its salient features are -
    • It will emphasise on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
    • In 3-Wheeler and 4-Wheeler segment incentives will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes.
    • Private vehicles will be focussed in the 2-wheeler segment.
    • State/city transport corporation (STUs) will deliver the demand incentive for electric buses.
    • About 2700 charging stations will be established in metros, other million-plus cities, smart cities and cities of Hilly states across the country so that there will be the availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km.
    • Charging stations are also proposed to be installed on major highways connecting major city clusters.
    • Plug-in hybrid vehicles and those with a sizeable lithium-ion battery and electric motor will also be included in the scheme.