China has 275,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations, Japan has 29,900 charging stations for electric vehicles and USA 54,500 charging stations for electric cars like the Tesla Models S. India has only 350 electric car charging stations for models such as the Hyundai Kona Electric car, and upcoming Tata and Mahindra electric vehicles
The Indian electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem is still in its nascent stage, and the government's FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles) II Scheme announced earlier this year, is aimed at acclerating the adoption of electric cars, electric scooters, electric motorcycles, electric buses across the length and breadth of the country. Of course, the FAME II Scheme is a step in the right direction, but there is no denying the fact that it will take at least a year or so for the country's electric vehicle ecosytem to turn into a well-oiled one.
CV Raman, Senior Executive Director (Engineering), Maruti Suzuki, said electric vehicles are the way forward as the country aims to trim it ever-increasing import bill (crude oil constitutes 20 % of the country's tota/ imports) as well as facilitate an environmentally-friendly mobility ecosystem in place. Raman was categorical that the focus should not be only on electric vehicles as far as alternate fuels are concerned, and stated that there is a strong need to explore other alternate fuels such as CNG, Ethanol, Methanol, Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The Senior Maruti Suzuki India official has no doubts that for the country's EV ecosystem to flourish, there must be a robust push to localise the electric vehicle technology as it will help in bringing down the cost of EVs via the Make-in-India initiative. "Battery Electric Vehicles are two-three times costlier than ICE vehicles and so it is imperative that localisation is carried out at a rapid pace if we are to create consumer pull," he said.
Any talk on electric vehicles in India often triggers talk of the lack of charging infrastructure for electric cars, electric scooters, electric motorcycles and Raman said infrastructure support for EV charging is equally important along with localisation. "There is a great deal of anxiety among consumers about range of EVs. It is crucial that quick access to EV charging stations as well as affordable EV charging are facilitated so as to trigger faster adoption of EVs. China has 275,000, Japan has 29,900 charging stations, USA 54,500 publicly accessible EV charging outlets, while India has only 350 EV charging stations," he noted.
Raman dwelt on how 'scale' is so critical in Made-in-India drive. "The EV technology needs to move to a in a cost structure that is much closer to a ICE vehicle, which means a lot of localisation. Globally it is seen that subsides don't make sustainable ecosystem for EV technologies," he signed off.