Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first Union Budget of the Modi government in its second term on 5th July-2019. Union Budget attracts a lot of Indian people this time as government touched some areas towards “New India”. Indian Government looks very optimistic and aggressive to speed up the country’s development. She said in her first budget speech with a reference to New India “for which people voted the government in Lok Sabha election”. She added that “We have set the ball rolling for a New India and the country will become a $5-trillion economy in next few years”. Currently, it stands at $2.7 trillion.
Some highlights of Union Budget 2019 are changes in Income Tax slab and corporate tax slab, custom duty, digital transactions, a public-private partnership in railway, house for everyone, water and electricity for everyone, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, Metro Rail operations, world-class city project, etc. etc. There are a lot more announcements but one major announcement for pushing electric mobility in India which is an unexpected announcement by the NDA 2.0 government. This announcement also attracts many people including me.
The Indian automobile industry is the 4th largest in the world and expected to emerge as the world’s third-largest by 2021. Currently, the automotive sector contributes more than 7 percent to India’s GDP and the plan is to increase the contribution to 12 percent by 2026. The electric vehicle announcement also boosts this market and will see more and more opportunities in this field.
The Indian government is now in the race to switch to all-electric cars by 2030. Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra are the two homegrown automotive giants that are currently leading the electric vehicle revolution in the country.
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What is Electric Vehicle:
Electric vehicles, as the name suggests, run at least partially on electricity. Instead of fossil fuel-driven internal combustion engines, these vehicles are powered by electric motors for propulsion. The electric motor, in turn, derives energy from rechargeable batteries, solar panels or fuel cells. In plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, a battery, which can be plugged into the electric grid for charging, is used to power an electric motor.
Advantage of Electric Vehicle in India:
There are many advantages of Electric Vehicle in India. Some advantages are short term and some are long term. Some advantages are personal and some are social so this decision taken by the Indian Government is good for all, everyone will be benefited directly or indirectly.
Here are some advantages of using Electric Vehicles:
Less Fuel Cost: The main advantage of using an electric vehicle is that less fuel cost. If we compared to petrol and diesel, electricity is cheaper in India. A fully charged car can run approximately 280-300 Km which is very lesser than petrol or diesel. There are fluctuations in petrol and diesel prices but electricity prices are mostly constant. Just like a smartphone, you can plug in your vehicle and charge whenever you need so need to go any station.
Cheaper to maintain: Electric vehicle has very less moving parts than a conventional petrol/diesel vehicle. There are relatively little servicing and no expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems, radiators and many other parts that aren’t needed in an EV. With just one moving part – the rotor – EVs are particularly simple and very strong. Just maintain the brakes, tyres, suspension, and batteries, that’s it. A lot of batteries are coming in the market with replacement warranty so whenever you need, you can replace the battery.
Clean and Green Environment: Electric Vehicles are environment-friendly. Because these types of vehicles don’t consume fossil fuels, they do not produce any tailpipe emissions which contribute to climate change and smog. Charging your EV on renewable energy such as solar or wind minimizes these emissions even more.
Health benefit: If there are no harmful emissions then but obvious air quality will improve and as well as our environment will be clean. It’s directly affecting our health and will reduce ecological damages also. EVs are also quieter than petrol/diesel vehicles which mean less noise pollution also.
Easy To Operate: Because of the simplified design, Electric Vehicles are very easy to operate. Most of the electric vehicles in India come with a single driving mode which is very easy to handle. It can drive by housewives, senior citizens, and students also very easily.
Economic Development: According to the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC), India spent USD 111.9 billion on oil imports in 2018-19. This is a huge amount we are paying for oil. If we use EVs then our country can save this amount which can be utilized to develop in many areas.
Job Opportunities: As the demand for electric vehicles increases, more opportunities will be created for research and development, manufacturing, electrical contracting and green tourism. India is planning for manufacturing of battery and charging equipment, lithium mining and battery recycling so there will be huge potential in this market.
Dis-advantage of Electric Vehicle in India:
Limited Range: Electric Vehicles are fixed for a specific range. They can’t go beyond that. Most of the electric vehicles can cover a range of 100 Km. You cannot go for a long ride with a single battery; you need a backup battery also. However, research is going on to improve the range of electric vehicles.
Charging Stations: In India, very few EV charging stations are available. Only main cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad have charging stations. Some thousands of charging stations should be set up all around the country to reduce the scarcity of recharging stations.
Recharge Time: Charging electric vehicles do take longer. To recharge a battery fully, it takes almost 8-10 hours which is a very long time. Unfortunately, we do not have any charger who can charge the battery in a few minutes but the research team is working on it and very soon they will find out the solution.
There is one more challenge which is the biggest one.
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Lack of renewable energy and grid infrastructure:
Electricity is mainly produced by burning coal in India, which produces a great number of greenhouse emissions. With the introduction of EVs and charging infrastructure, the electricity demand will surely increase a lot and the whole point of introducing EVs to reduce GHG* emissions would be ineffective if all this electricity was produced by burning coal. Moreover, India’s Electric Distribution companies hold debts and are unable to provide sufficient energy for the whole country adequately. If EVs were to enter this equation, the sudden increase in electricity requirement would put extra load on these companies then these companies will decide the pricing of the electricity as well the demand on the grid.
It will affect coal mining’s also. The demand for coal will also be high so this is also one more challenge for the government to provide sufficient coal for electric production.
* A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. Greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect.
Indian Government initiatives:
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced income tax rebates of up to ₹1.5 lakh to customers on interest paid on loans to buy Electric Vehicles, with a total exemption benefit of ₹2.5 lakh over the entire loan period. The minister also announced the customs duty exemption on lithium-ion cells, which will help lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries in India as they are not produced locally. Makers of components such as solar electric charging infrastructure and lithium storage batteries and other components will be offered investment-linked income tax exemptions under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act, and other indirect tax benefits. This is a very good initiative by NDA 2.0 Modi Government.
Now, this is the time of revolution of Electric Vehicles. The market opportunities will grow rapidly in this area. Indian Government already provides a lot of schemes for startups, for small businesses, and corporates also.
The NITI-Aayog is considering a policy proposal to ban all internal combustion engine two-wheelers under 150cc by 2025 and three-wheelers by 2023.
The government has already moved the GST council to lower the GST rate on electric vehicles from 12% to 5%.
The Indian government has developed a two-pronged strategy aimed at both buyers and manufacturers where they offered subsidies of $1.4 billion. Of the $1.4 billion, about $1.2 billion has been earmarked for subsidies, $140 million for charging infrastructure and some $5 million for administrative expenses and advertising. The balance $50 million is money that was committed in the existing policy which expires March 2019.
Overall this is a good initiative by the Government of India. The only challenge is the production of Electricity which is a very big challenge. The government should think so that we can save our environment and the new generation can survive in a pollution-free environment.