Q) India needs a comprehensive and long term policy directed towards electric vehicles. Discuss.

An electric vehicle is one that uses electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. It may be powered through a self-contained battery, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity. The rising fuel prices and the impact of use of fossil fuels on the environment has shifted the focus of the government to electric vehicles. 

Policies for Electric Vehicles in India

  1. National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)- Launched in 2013, it had the aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country. It targets to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
  2. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) – it was launched in 2015. It had the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem. It focuses on four core areas- Technology Development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.
  3. FAME II- it seeks to give a push to Electric Vehicles (EVs) in public transport and encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation. It aims for a holistic growth of the EV industry with focus on charging infrastructure, research and development of EV technologies and push towards greater indigenization.
  4. National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage- it aims to promote clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives. 
  5. Phased Manufacturing Programme- it is valid for 5 years upto 2024 and supports setting up of a few large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing Giga plants in India. It would localise the production of EVs in India. 

Need For a Comprehensive Policy 

  1. There are only about 600 charging stations across India and that too mostly for the two and three wheelers. Government has to ensure the presence of charging facilities in all the cities and towns.
  2. India does not have adequate lithium reserves to facilitate manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. An adequate policy for securing the amount of Lithium is essential. 
  3. Electric vehicles can load the distribution networks with a surge in demand, thus burdening regular power supplies infrastructure. EV loads, being of intermittent nature, will have to be managed.
  4. The aims to be achieved would require a lot of investment. Government must partner with the private players by offering them incentives to finance the EV industry in India. 
  5. Pursuing the public about the efficiency of EVs will be a challenging job. Government must focus on developing behavioural change in the people regarding electric vehicles.
  6. A major concern is the adoption of EVs in 4 wheelers. Government has to have a policy to cover every aspect of the EV industry in India. 
  7. Significant investment has to be made in the area of research and development of electric vehicles. 

Hence, it can be said that Electric Vehicles have a long way to go in India before they become a household thing. But with innovation, investment and a comprehensive policy the target of achieving 100% electric vehicles by 2030 could be realized effectively. It will not only have environmental impact but also long term economical impacts both for the citizens and the country.