Tesla has changed how we look at electric cars. From just a car to the cars of the future, EVs have registered great developments in the books. However, what does all this mean to the Indian mobility industry? Let us find out.
“We should move towards alternative fuel… I am going to do this, whether you like it or not. And I am not going to ask you. I will bulldoze it,” Gadkari said recently. This statement from the Union Road Transport and Highway Minister clears the mood of this government.
The Government of India itself has set a very ambitious plan of cleaning up all oil consuming cars from Indian roads by 2030. But before this nation can achieve its futuristic target, there are some roadblocks.
No EV Infrastructure
No combustion-based car can run without fuel and so is true for electric cars. However, instead of oil-based fuel, these future vehicles need electricity which may not be available at everyone’s home. Although people who own land can still afford to have an electric car charger at home, those living in apartments can’t. Also, there may come a time when you are taking a ride to your hometown and the battery gets charged only to strand you in the middle of the road. So, all in all, charging stations are a necessity.
Unfortunately, India has only 200 charging stations countrywide against 56,000 fuel stations. This will be the right place for the government to start its EV effort.
Not everything is bad though. There are signs that the coming year is going to be a boom for electric cars.
Latest reports suggest the popular ride-hailing firm Uber is in talks with Mahindra & Mahindra to bring electric cars into its Indian fleet. In Mumbai, Uber’s Cheif Business Officer Madhu Kannan told reports that the company will be adding hundreds of EVs in Delhi and Hyderabad by March next year. He also suggested that Uber is even considering plans to expand this experiment into other cities.
“For how long this pilot will go on is difficult to predict … It will require adequate progress in engagement with our stakeholders before we plan to expand to other cities,” Kannan said. He added that Uber has not set any major EV roll-out targets for India.
Uber’s Indian competitor Ola already has some EVs running on the streets of Delhi, though the number is small.
Big Players Joining In
Recently, Suzuki Motor and Toyota Motor reached an agreement to sell and manufacture electric cars in India within the next 3 years. This agreement will surely boost the government’s effort to push EVs in the country.
The home manufacturer Mahindra reportedly announced to launch two new electric cars in the year 2019. As per a report from NDTV Auto, Mahindra will base these two new cars on the existing models. Some reports are suggesting that these base models can either be Mahindra KUV 100 or Mahindra’s full-size SUVs like Scorpio and the XUV 500.
“Our first new electric car will come by 2018 and the second one will be launched by the end of 2019 and we are very excited for both,” NDTV’s report quoted Mahindra & Mahindra Managing Director Dr. Pawan Goenka.
Mahindra already has two electric cars on the streets. However, the sales figures of these two models are not that exciting.
The Road Ahead
From all the reports and rumors wandering around, it is quite clear that the year 2018 is going to be a turning point for the Indian electric mobility industry. Sooner or later Telsa will be entering the Indian market that everyone is waiting for.