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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

The future of mobility in India

Despite the challenges, there is optimism for the growth prospects of the EV sector.

Sohinder Gill, the director of corporate affairs at India's Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, explains some of the issues the electric vehicle sector is facing in more depth.

At what pace is the electric vehicle industry growing in India?

Hypothetically, we are hoping that volumes will double during this fiscal. The previous subsidies and incentives provided by the government supported the industry. Now there is a separate team to look into the growth of electric vehicles. The industry is all poised and optimistic and people are anticipating it to be the future of mobility.

What are some of the issues holding back manufacturing in India?

The affordable supply of lithium ion batteries, making the ride consistent in speed and easy to charge and maintain. Even today lithium ion batteries, are imported and are costlier, making it very difficult to translate gains for consumers. Industry is demanding fiscal incentives for the lithium ion battery until affordable manufacturing by Indian companies becomes a reality. Until then inferior quality of e-rickshaws from China is flooding the Indian market. Indian companies remain uncompetitive on account of price because they provide better quality.

Low quality sub-standard vehicles must be phased out.

Does more need to be done to support electric vehicles manufacturers in India?

The policy continuity and fiscal incentives need to have a vision, and therefore, have to be long term. The industry expects that policy, incentives, subsidies, are made for at least five years to realise the optimal benefits. The industry plans in advance, and discontinuity of a policy can hit the industry hard. The industry is appreciative of the government support and many ministries supporting the electric vehicle drive. For the smooth transition to the electric vehicle future, the electric vehicle industry requires clarity on schemes for incentivisation. The industry is worried over non-clarity regarding the roll out of FAME-2 [the faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles scheme in India]. A separate fund or campaign, supported by the government, can be earmarked to create awareness and publicity about electric vehicles.

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