The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) recently organised its International Conference on the theme ‘Electric Vehicles: Future Roadmap for India’ on December 19, 2017 in New Delhi, where a wide range of perspectives were shared on how the country will mark its transition to the green technology.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog affirmed the government’s commitment to support the electric movement. “Disruptions are inevitable and we would like major disruptions to take place in India as well. The government will continue to support all our OEMs and Indian manufacturers. We would like interoperable charging systems and will come up with a vast range of initiatives like lower road taxes etc. The government wants to act as a catalyst to support this entire EV movement so that the sector continues to play a significant role in the growth of India’s GDP, job creation as well as exports.”
Battery prices of EVs have always been a big talking point across the industry, and the NITI Aayog CEO is bullish about battery prices coming down. “The cost of EV battery is at $ 273/ kWh today and several studies have indicated that battery prices are expected to come down to $ 73/ kWh by 2027-28; that is without taking the Indian demand into consideration. Perhaps prices could even come down to $ 60/ kWh if we factor in the Indian demand,” he said.
The government wants to embrace the EV journey without disturbing internal combustion engine vehicle manufacturing. “We should do to size and scale which will enable India to emerge as a centre for manufacturing, battery manufacturing as well as for exports. Electric mobility is possible because our per capita usage of cars is still very low,” Kant observed.
The objective in the EV segment is to accelerate the pace, while ensuring that India maintains its size and scale, its GDP share, employment share and that is possible only if we are able to produce to size and scale.
Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways stressed the need to indigenise EV manufacturing. “If we are going to import batteries, motors and controllers from China or any other country, and are reduced to just being assembler of vehicles, it will not be appreciated by anybody. We must look at ‘indigenising’ battery manufacturing, cell level manufacturing among other new innovations in battery technology,” he said.
Damle added that the need of the hour is to tap into the high mileage segment. EVs must be deployed in high mileage segments such as buses, taxis and auto rickshaws plying in cities. He also harped on the need to focus on two-wheelers. Damle was categorical that subsidies cannot be a solution for the EV industry. The cost of an EV is almost 80 % more than an IC car. Given this price difference, doling out subsidies and sustaining them will be very difficult, he noted.