Pushing the 2030 EV target, the government will buy 10,000 new electric vehicles from Tata Motors in a bid to replace fossil-fuel cars at government offices over the next 3 to 4 years. With 500,000 government vehicles, and growing air pollution, experts say ‘Centre needs to do a lot more’. Nissan and India’s Mahindra & Mahindra lost the contract to Tata.
Not so fast?
Railway minister Piyush Goel rolled back decision to exit $2.5 billion deisel engine deal, for all-electric engines, after GE put government on notice.
Karnataka makes EV move
Taking cue from Centre, Karnataka cleared its Electric Vehicle & Energy Storage policy becoming the first state to have EV policy in place. It expects investments worth Rs31,000 cr and create around 55,000 jobs. Businesses don’t want to miss the EV bus either. Tata, SoftBank and others are backing Uber rival Ola with $2 billion in new funding. SoftBank is considering a multibillion dollar investment in Uber too. Meanwhile, Suzuki – with fellow Japanese firms Denso and Toshiba – plans to make lithium-ion batteries in India.
$100 million battery deal
Amid the policy rush, Japan’s SoftBank plans to invest $100 million in Reva founder Chetan Maini’s firm Sun Mobility to develop EV batteries and build charging stations. Nonauto firms are also entering the fray. Steel giant JSW has set a 2020 EV date. Mukesh Ambani (CEO, Reliance Industries) is also planning lithium-ion battery factories and charging stations.
China’s EV deadline for carmakers
Globally, vacuum cleaner maker Dyson plans a ‘radical’ electric car by 2020. And BHP Biliton, the world’s largest mining conglomerate, sees 2017 as the ‘tipping point’. Like India the car companies abroad dragged their feet, but now they are being dragged into EVs. GM is the latest entrant. But none can match China’s ‘amazing EV aggression’, and its 2019 EV deadline for automakers.
Buyers ‘defeating the purpose’
However, is the consumer’s interest in EVs half-hearted? Data shows that EV buyers actually tend to buy a second, bigger car that’s gasoline or diesel fueled – and thereby eroding the goals of fuel economy by up to 60%.