Some of the recent developments in the Indian industry augur well for the future of the transportation sector in general. The new factory Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles opened in Bangalore recently is a significant milestone in the Indian industry’s march towards electromobility. Contemporary product design, backed by improved technology should see more acceptability of the new e-vehicle in the market.
Cost of electric vehicles remains a considerable concern, but with adequate incentives, we could expect EVs to become more affordable to the masses.
The National Mission for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (NMHEV) too is a timely measure initiated by the government. Although a clear picture will emerge only after the announcement of the NMHEV, it is doubtless that to promote EVs, governmental support is paramount. The government’s reported plan to invest around Rs 13,000 cr over a period of eight years to promote electric and hybrid vehicles in the country speaks well of its intent in not just cutting down the country’s dependence on crude-based fuel,but also safeguarding the environment.
A sudden turnaround is incomprehensible, yet these initiatives could help lay the basic foundation for the industry to look ahead and plan. For EVs to be a mass product, a lot would be required to be done on various parameters, including building of technical capabilities on a much larger scale and developing a self-sufficient and self-sustainable supply chain. The industry would need time to develop an ecosystem mature enough to support a full-scale EV market.
The electric car industry is at its nascent stage today, and a lot depends on the government’s approach towards incentivising the industry, attracting more manufacturers to invest in EV technologies. Long-term and sustained assurances would help the industry make a lasting impact.
The Indian pledge towards the EV industry may not be as big as commitments made by some other countries. But should it be ratified by the Union cabinet, it surely will be a timely move.
Deepangshu Dev Sarmah
New Delhi, September 2012