After the government issued a broad guideline for adoption of electric mobility, industry is seeking more time to undergo the transition. The government of India plans to issue a directive that ridesharing companies like Ola and Ober must have at least 40% of their vehicles running on electric charge instead of any conventional fuels by the year 2026. Auto major Hyundai feels the industry needs time to implement such directives, as per an Economic Times report.
There were sufficient noises made during the first 5 years in office of this government that it has plans for the electric cars in the country, where both the manufacturer and buyer will be incentivised. Then the government tried telling its own departments that any new vehicle they buy must be electrically run and so on. However, these policies cannot take off till the overall ecosystem is simultaneously developed. The battery charging stations have to come up first and the batteries to suit these vehicles must be made here. If these fall in place, the making and selling of electrically powered cars can become a reality.
This is precisely what is being said by SS Kim, MD, Hyundai Motors India. He feels more clarity is needed from the side of the government on such broad policy initiatives. Hyundai has a direct stake in the issue since the company has made an investment of $300 million in Ola. The South Korean company has its own plans for the launch of electric vehicles in the Indian market. Kona EV is the model it plans to release in the market in July this year and will be sold in 16 cities. How fast will these cities develop the charging infrastructure is to be seen. To start with the car owners will have to setup the charging units (Hyundai will supply with the cars) at their homes, charge the cars and take it out and bring it back within the distance that one charge can last which can be between 200 and 300 kilometres. If the government wants the taxis to be made electric cars, then it becomes an entirely different ball game. The setting up sufficient charging points in and outside the cities will be critical for the plan to succeed.
The Hyundai MD has pointed out the issue of batteries as well, the most important component in an electric vehicle. He says it is not viable for a battery unit to be setup in the country unless there is a market for at least 50,000 batteries in a year. Till then these will have to be imported.
Hopefully, the government will sit with the stakeholders and evolve a clear policy with problem areas identified and the roadmap drawn up with everyone’s understanding.