An idea whose time has come

EV target 2030: Can Minister’s bulldozer threat move carmakers to action?

‘I won’t ask, I will bulldoze’. That’s the warning to diesel car manufacturers from Indian Transport minister Nitin Gadkari as India chases a tough 2030 target to fully shift to EVs. But the slow automakers want a policy roadmap first. Blamed for failing to pre-empt policy and move to adopt new technologies, Indian automakers say the policy is changing too fast for their industry. The Industry rather delivers what ‘customers want’, but what they really want from the government is ‘China-like’ investment plan. On the road, the diesel car industry is notoriously reluctant to fix emissions problem.

Forecasts predict the price of electric car will be equivalent to that of a gasoline car by 2025. Amitabh Kant, chief of government think tank Niti Aayog, said India is in the midst of biggest disruption, so it can’t be business as usual for industry and the government. Given the aggressive push carmakers have no choice but to plan electrification. EVs are being mobilised in India. Suzuki Motors is setting up a lithium ion battery unit in Gujarat that will be operational by 2020 and Japan’s SoftBank plans to turn cab aggregator Ola into EV manufacturer. Mahindra & Mahindra and Ford are exploring collaboration on EVs, while Tata Motors have plans to make EVs in India.

Diesel is ‘dead’

Meanwhile, global EV market got a huge push after China, world’s largest car market, also announced its intension to ban diesel and gas vehicles. China is setting up world’s largest EV charging network of 167,000 chargers linked with the state grid. Diesel cars became dirtier post dieselgate and similar scandals at VW, Fiat and Renault. Public uproar over air pollution and falling costs of EVs have made it easier for the governments to dump them. In a recent survey of 1000 auto executives, over 50% believe diesel is dead and that battery EVs were the top auto trend. Goldman Sachs estimates 32% of global auto sales by 2040 to be of EVs. EU is reportedly mulling an EV quota to be achieved by automakers by 2030.

Highs and lows of EV

Studies have revealed that carmakers are making very little effort to market electric cars, but that doesn’t stop the biggies from making big promises including Volkswagen, Daimler, Volvo, and BMW. Lastly, cab aggregator Uber plans to go all EV in the UK and Lyft set itself a lofty target of 100% renewable self-driving cars.

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