India electric vehicle policy by December: Nitin Gadkari

Transport minister Nitin Gadkari says India’s electric vehicle policy will cover both light and commercial vehicles like cars and buses


Transport minister Nitin Gadkari. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Transport minister Nitin Gadkari. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance government will put an electric vehicle policy in place by the end of this year, minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.

An informal group of ministers formed to prepare a draft electric vehicle policy has submitted its suggestions to the cabinet secretary, Gadkari said. The group comprised Gadkari, finance minister Arun Jaitley, heavy industries minister Anant Geete, environment minister Anil Dave and minister for power, coal and new and renewable energy Piyush Goyal.

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“The government will be ready with its electric vehicle policy by December,” he said, adding that it will cover both light and heavy vehicles like cars and buses.

Many Indian firms are showing interest in investing in electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure, according to Gadkari. The first pilot of electric vehicle transportation is ready to be launched in Nagpur next week and will set an example for other cities.

The government’s electric vehicle push has been gaining momentum in recent months. Government think tank NITI Aayog released a report last week recommending fiscal incentives to electric vehicle manufacturers and discouraging privately-owned petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles.

NITI Aayog, along with Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute, in the report suggested setting up “a manufacturer consortium for batteries, common components, and platforms to develop battery cell technologies and packs and to procure common components for Indian original equipment manufacturers.” The report said that adoption of electric and shared vehicles could help country save $60 billion in diesel and petrol along with cutting down as much as 1 gigatonne (GT) of carbon emissions by 2030.

Electric vehicle sales are low in India. Sales rose 37.5% to 22,000 units in fiscal 2016 from 16,000 in fiscal 2015; only 2,000 of these were cars and other four-wheelers, according to automobile lobby group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The government wants to see 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India Scheme). It has been offering subsidies on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs29,000 for bikes and Rs1.38 lakh for cars under FAME India Scheme, but the plan is to make it economically viable on its own.

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