Friday, September 7, 2018

Electric vehicle Policy - Is the Govt serious?

Addressing  the industrial executives at the Global Summit organised by Niti Ayog the PM said today:

"  ....India will do whatever it takes to usher in electric mobility in a big way as it holds immense promise for economic growth and ease of living "

We have been listening to this for almost four years ever since this BJP came to power. Except opening some Charging Stations here and there or ordering 10000 Electric cars with Tatas and Mahindras  nothing truly has happened to call a big policy break through
Is it lack of technology ?  CERTAINLY NO .
Charging station infrastructure can be created in no time with solar grids. People will come forward to invest as the surplus power can be sold Power corporations  whenever vehicles are not charging. Hence that cannot be an excuse.
Range anxiety of vehicles can be easily overcome if charging stations facility are made available at colleges, hospitals, Malls and all parking lots. Therefore that cannot be a reason. 
The present Lead acid battery is good enough for  30 to 40 KM and 4 to 5 years of life for all two wheelers. Thus improvement  in  battery technology is not a constraint 

What is lacking is the will to implement. 
May be some powerful lobby of  petrol vehicle manufacturers do not want EVs  to increase in number as their business is at stake.  
Some of the key positions  of EV  Association  are held by big heads of  petrol vehicle manufacturers. It is but natural they can create stumbling blocks for electric two wheelers as the main business would get affected. 

If the government  or Niti Ayog is serious about bringing out a useful policy they can do the following.
1) Bring " age restriction" to drive petrol two wheeler vehicles -particularly in all major towns and cities . That is, all those above 18 and below 25 should ride only electric vehicles. This, to a great extent reduce the present reckless driving by youngsters and anxiety of  their parents at home. 
Implementation of this will create a boom in the market though sales of petrol vehicles may get affected. Rather this will force the present manufacturers to seriously get in to EV business instead of giving lip service.
2) Electric vehicles with less than 25 Km speed capability need not require a driving licence to drive. This will encourage more persons to buy EVs. This speed is  more than adequate for commuting in big cities.
3) Allow more entrepreneurs to manufacture electric scooters and cycles as most of the parts are available  in open market (including the DC motor drive ) and it is only a question of assembling them. [ Delhi's electric rikshaws are good example]. Such assemblers should be certified by RTO or Automobile Association of India to maintain quality and road worthiness.
It is very important to note that what  is costing exchequer 67 % of  petrol  payments  is to meet the demand by two wheelers.   See my slide show below.

Unless a firm policy to put a cap on petrol two wheelers  popularisation of electric vehicles only be a distant dream.