Apart from reducing EV prices, the government will also focus on cleaner fuels, like hydrogen and ethanol-blended petrol
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, stated in a recent media event that he expects EV prices to reduce in the next two years. He believes that electric two- and four-wheelers could reach the same price level as their petrol-powered counterparts, while the electric bus prices would rival that of diesel-powered ones.
The claim is quite a bold one, considering that a typical electric four-wheeler can cost almost twice as much as its petrol-powered counterpart. The minister is betting big on local manufacturing of batteries in order to keeps the costs in check. Currently, EV manufacturers have to import batteries and a few other components, which is the biggest reason for the high prices of electric cars.
The union minister also stated that currently, up to 81 per cent of the entire composition of lithium-ion batteries is being made locally in India, and in the future, this number could rise up to 100 per cent. Institutions like IITs, ISRO, and DRDO are already working on it alongside the government.
“We have made a success of the BS VI story. My thanks to all of industry for your efforts and cooperation. We must understand that the country is struggling with the huge problem of importing up to Rs 800,000 crore (US$ 108 billion) of crude oil every year, which is pushing us back economically. That aside, rising pollution is an even bigger concern with States such as New Delhi seen grappling with it,” said Nitin Gadkari.
He also said that following the implementation of BS6 emission norms last year, the focus has now shifted towards electrification. Alternate propulsion technologies are also under consideration, and several labs across India reportedly are working on them. The production of alternate fuels, like ethanol, is being increased steadily. The minister also urged the auto industry to develop flex-fuel engines for two-wheelers and passenger cars.
In order to promote EVs, the central and state governments are offering benefits to buyers in India, like subsidies, tax waivers, etc. However, the biggest challenge continues to be the lack of charging stations across the country. If electric vehicles are to enter the mainstream market, the EV charging infrastructure needs to match the level of petrol/diesel stations in India.