Electric vehicles may be still some time away to become mainstream in India, but there are enough indications that the demands are rising. That is what the government claims, citing data from its e-vahan portal.
According to data available, electric vehicle demands in India has grown significantly, double to be precise, in the last three years. India had 69,012 units of electric vehicles on road in 2017-18. The number increased to 143,358 units in 2018-19 and then to 167,041 units in 2019-20.
During a written reply to a question on e-vehicles in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Heavy Industries Arjun Ram Meghwal shared this information, saying that the number of registered electric vehicles, available through government data, has seen a consistent increase in the last three years.
The government attributes the rise in demand for electric vehicles to rising fuel prices and government's push to adopt electric mobility to reduce vehicular pollution. Several steps and initiatives have been taken, not only by Centre but some of the state governments too, to promote electric vehicles.
For instance, the Centre has reduced GST rate on electric vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent and GST on setting up EV infrastructure like charging stations from 18 per cent to 5 per cent. Meanwhile, a few state governments, including the Delhi government, have announced their own electric vehicle policies that are aimed to incentivise those who adopt e-mobility.
Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Prakash Javadekar has also said that as part of the second phase of the FAME India scheme, the government will focus on switching public and shared transport in India to electric by subsidising electric buses, cars and two-wheelers.
The FAME II scheme aims to put around 10 lakh electric vehicles on road by March, 2022. Electric carmakers in India have been raising concerns about the target for quite some time now. According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), the criteria under the scheme made electric two-wheelers unaffordable despite the subsidies offered. It had requested the government to either rejig the FAME-II scheme or reintroduce FAME-I before fixing the issues.
Despite the rise in demand for electric vehicles in India, the target of 10 lakh EVs on road still seems a bit unrealistic. However, the government is hopeful that the demand will pick up further in coming days when the infrastructure improves and the price of EVs come down. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had urged EV makers to forgo profit for now till customers begin to adopt electric mobility more regularly.