Opinion | Electric vehicle ecosystem’s taking solid shape in India | Mint
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Business News/ Opinion / Columns/  Opinion | Electric vehicle ecosystem’s taking solid shape in India

Opinion | Electric vehicle ecosystem’s taking solid shape in India

There are 4,000 EVs in India, which is about 0.1% of close to 3.5 mn cars sold in the last year

Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, or EESL, has again postponed the procurement of 10,000 units of electric vehicles to 2019 because of lack of car charging infrastructure. Photo:Premium
Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, or EESL, has again postponed the procurement of 10,000 units of electric vehicles to 2019 because of lack of car charging infrastructure. Photo:

Following the Paris agreement in 2015, India announced its commitment to reduce its emission intensity by 2030. However, it is going to be a herculean task, unless India goes the whole hog in adopting less carbon-emitting ways, especially in the automobile sector. If we see the numbers, India has a long way to go where electric vehicles (EVs) can play a big role.

For example, the number of electric cars grew by about 300% in the last decade. However, the absolute number is only around 4,000 electric cars on Indian roads, which is just about 0.1% of close to 3.5 million cars sold in the last year. The number shows that the EV ecosystem is yet to take shape. But when we see the half glass full, it also tells a story about the opportunity where automobile manufacturers can play a big role in filling the remaining half of the glass.

Essentially, India is a market that provides a tremendous opportunity in the EV space—just like it does in petrol and diesel car segments. The opportunity is so big that every player in the ecosystem can benefit from it. For Hyundai, EVs are going to be a key focus area when it comes to providing eco-friendly mobility solutions, overall. This aspect is well covered in our ‘Global ‘Strategy 2025’, which was announced recently by Hyundai Motor Co.

Under ‘Strategy 2025’, we plan to build the capacity and capability so that we can sell 670,000 battery EVs and fuel cell EVs annually. We also plan to offer most of our new models with an EV drivetrain by 2030 in major markets and by 2035 in emerging markets. Needless to mention that in the above-stated strategy, India will be one of the most important markets for the EV ecosystem.

Our strategy goes in tandem with the government’s plan of promoting electric mobility in the next decade. It has a set a target of 30% electric vehicles on Indian roads.

Just like Hyundai and other automobile firms, the government is doing laudable work in creating an enabling environment for EVs. Recently, the GST Council reduced the taxes on EVs from 12% to 5%.

Similarly, to promote ‘Made In India’ EVs, the finance minister increased the customs duty on completely built units and SKD to 40% and 30%, respectively. This will definitely boost Indian manufacturing of EVs—as we did for the Kona EV.

Similarly, Phase 2 of the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles) scheme is now gathering momentum, which again will augur well for the EV ecosystem, including charging and battery change infrastructure in the country.

Achieving the target of 30% electric mobility by 2030 looks challenging, and investment, innovation, research and development (R&D) across the right technologies will be key. What will also be crucial is the affordability factor and more than that the mindset of the common man.

India’s commitment towards cleaner mobility is commendable and the automobile sector has to do its bit to make it possible. Currently, the sector as a whole is religiously working towards implementing the BS-VI emission norms. However, this probably would not be enough, considering the millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions the sector contributes. It needs long-term solutions, which lies in electric mobility. At least as of now!

The players in the automobile sector are taking various steps. From charging infrastructure to investment in R&D for EV products suitable for the Indian roads, the industry is up for the task. It is indeed heartening to see that all the stakeholders are working towards one common goal, which is going to shape up a cleaner world, a cleaner tomorrow!

S.S. Kim is the managing director of Hyundai Motor India Ltd.

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Published: 07 Feb 2020, 12:28 AM IST
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