Palliating climate change has become one of the primary objectives driving governments worldwide, environmentalists, activists as well as mobility practitioners. The Paris agreement on climate change (COP21) has been accepted by nearly 200 countries, agreeing to bring down GHG emissions to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
India, too, is a signatory to COP21, and by 2030 the country intends to reduce its carbon emission intensity by 33-35 % as compared to 2005 levels. Interestingly, the adoption of India’s final National Electricity Plan (NEP) in April this year highlights the fact that the country is on track to overachieve its climate action targets. The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has noted that on present estimates, India could achieve part of its nationally determined contributions (NDC) goals – to produce 40 % of the total electricity from sources other than fossil fuels – as early as end-2018, a full 12 years earlier than targeted.
A key enabler in this process is cleaner mobility options – electrified, hybridised or even improved ICE-based solutions. As a country, India has remained quite indecisive in respect to its EV policies. From announcing its plans to go all-electric by 2030, to no specific policy – despite the industry committing to achieve 100 % pure new EV sales (battery electric and fuel cell vehicles) on the 100th anniversary of India’s independence (2047) – the government’s handling of the electric mobility sector has been facing intense criticism from all quarters.
Take for example the recent global mobility summit, MOVE, organised by the Central Government’s think tank, NITI Aayog. In the auto industry conventions that preceded the MOVE summit, the industry was fairly upbeat about the prospect of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a long-term vision and a clear policy with regards to the directions the country intends to take at this summit, which attracted the who’s who from the global mobility fraternity. Alas, that wasn’t to be.
The industry is concerned, confused and somewhat irritated. Not many are willing to speak up openly, but there seems to be an overwhelming consensus among various stakeholders that the government should have a long-term, clear and stable roadmap in place. In preparing for future challenges and to actively seek opportunities for future growth, the industry seeks direction. The clock is ticking, and India can ill afford to lose out on riding the EV bandwagon. The government must act.
DEEPANGSHU DEV SARMAH
New Delhi, October 2018