New Delhi: India is aiming to reduce its overall oil import bill and pollution levels across cities in the coming years. Electric vehicles will play a significant role in achieving this target. Mint takes a look at where India has reached and what remains to be done.

What is India’s policy on electric vehicles?

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) was launched in 2013 by then prime minister Manmohan Singh. The United Progressive Alliance had envisaged electric and hybrid cars reaching 6-7 million units by 2020. However, under the next phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles scheme, or FAME, the National Democratic Alliance has set a target of increasing the number of electric vehicles to 4% of overall new vehicle sales over five years starting 2018-19. The department of heavy industries plans to spend Rs9,381 crore in this phase.

What has happened over the past 2 years?

The government had initially decided to promote only electric vehicles to reduce pollution levels. It had also proposed to shift all public transport and 30% of private vehicles to electric by 2030. Later, it shelved its plan to form an India EV policy and decided to promote zero-emission technologies. Through Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), the government put out a tender to procure 10,000 electric cars, which was won by Tata Motors Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra. Procurement has been delayed due to lack of car charging points.

Are Chinese companies part of this story?

Firms such as BYD Auto Co. Ltd have launched products such as electric buses in India. BYD will also supply electric buses to some state transport firms.

How are Indian firms placed in the game?

Mahindra has a first-mover advantage in electric mobility. The company plans to make 60,000 electric vehicles annually from 2020. The Indian unit of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd is expected to launch its electric vehicle in 2019, while Maruti Suzuki will enter the market by 2020. Tata Motors has developed the requisite technology. Many two-wheeler firms have also invested in developing products in the electric space.

What is the size of the EV market in India?

The EV market in India was about 25,000 units at the end of 2016-17. Of the total EVs sold, nearly 92% were two-wheelers, while electric cars and four-wheelers accounted for less than 8% of total sales, according to Society of Manufacturers of the Electric Vehicles. A study conducted by the group showed that 4,330 EVs were sold in Gujarat, 2,846 in West Bengal, 2,467 in Uttar Pradesh and 2,388 in Rajasthan during the fiscal year.

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