EV prices will match that of petrol, diesel vehicles in 2 years: Nitin Gadkari
Even as the Centre and state governments keep pushing vehicle owners to adopt electric vehicles, the EV segment in India still remains a very small part of the overall automobile business in the country. One of the key reasons behind it is the high prices of EVs, especially electric cars. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that India is just one EV revolution away to turn things around and see cost of electric cars come down to the same level of petrol and diesel cars.
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Speaking at an event organised by industry body Indian Chamber of Commerce, Gadkari said, "The cost of EVs is high because their number is less. But India is awaiting an EV revolution with 250 startup companies engaging in innovation of EV technology in the most cost-effective manner. Moreover, big auto manufacturers have also entered the competition to reduce the cost of EV manufacture."
Gadkari said that India will soon become the largest EV market for electric vehicles. "In the next 5 years, it is planned to develop wayside amenities at 600 locations, all of which will have the necessary EV charging infrastructure," said Gadkari.
While there has been a surge of electric two-wheeler startups in India, which also include Ola Electric, Ather Energy among others, only a few carmakers in India offer electric cars. The electric two-wheeler space has already seen some traction in India, and with big industry names like Hero also set to make its maiden foray it is only set to get bigger.
“If you are given a choice between a costly and polluting fossil fuel-run vehicle and a low maintenance, zero-emission EV, which would you opt for?" asked Gadkari during his speech at the event. "We are encouraging (adoption of) electric vehicles (EVs), and (use) of alternative fuels like ethanol, bio-LNG, green hydrogen," he said.
Electric carmakers like Tesla and Mercedes have raised concerns over high import duties on electric cars as one of the reasons behind high prices of EVs and therefore the business unviability. Tesla is currently in talks with the Centre to get import duties reduced before it finally takes a call to launch its first cars in India.
India currently demands customs duty ranging between 60 per cent to 100 per cent on imported cars. India imposes 100% import duty on fully imported cars with CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value over $40,000, while 60% duty is imposed on cars that cost less than the amount.
Tesla's take on import duties in India sparked a debate among carmakers in the country. There was a clear divide in opinions shared by vehicle manufacturers. While Hyundai echoed Tesla seeking reduced taxes, Tata Motors asked for equal treatment for Indian carmakers too. Ola Electric, which is all set to launch its first product in India, said emphasis should be more on promoting local manufacturing besides tax cuts.