The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) recently gave the green light to the registration of electric vehicles (EVs) without pre-fitted batteries. In what is being seen as yet another move to usher in new-age vehicles for cleaner transportation option, this has been a welcome step and the automotive industry has reacted positively to the development.
A press release from the ministry informed that EVs can now be registered without batteries pre-fitted and that there is also no requirement to mention the make, type or any other detail of the batteries for the purpose of registration. (Read full report here)
This acts as another clear path for India's future towards electric mobility. Naveen Munjal, MD at Hero Electric, praised the decision and said that such policies will act as catalysts to bring about change. "The policy is a welcome move. I am excited about the possibilities that exist in making EVs accessible to every individual in the country," he said. "All we need is a combination of such pioneering policies for it to work for us as per plan in the long-run will work in the long term."
Making EVs cheaper, common and providing infrastructure to support these are three big pillars towards an electric mobility revolution. According to Tarun Mehta, CEO and Co-Founder at Ather Energy, the latest step from MoRTH addresses the first two. "It is a great move for both customers and OEMs. It lowers the upfront cost that the consumer has to pay and allows OEMs to build superior products at an affordable price point," he explained.
Affordability may indeed be the buzz word as the EV technology itself is improving by leaps and bound. Economic sense to purchase an EV would be a key deciding factor, especially in the two-wheeler and commercial vehicles' space. "This (MoRTH's latest decision) will reduce the cost of acquisition of EV especially for two and three-wheelers and allow more and more people to shift from traditional to a more sustainable and affordable green mobility solutions for last mile connectivity," said a spokesperson for Ampere Electric.
And while steps are definitely being taken towards ushering in electric mobility, many also feel a lot remains to be done. Sohinder Gill, Director General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, welcomed the latest decision of the ministry but chose to also highlight what else needs to be done. "With regards to the recent move, delinking of batteries from the EVs is one such good idea, however a lot needs to be done before it becomes practically implementable and beneficial to the customers," he said. "We feel that the announcement should have been made coupled with some other policy measures to make EVs more attractive for the customers as well as for the manufacturers."
Gill said decisions like slashing GST on batteries from 18% to 5% if sold separately and passing on FAME subsidy to such EVs could also prove to be enormously beneficial.
The future of mobility is electric and an overwhelming majority say it is not a question of if but when, as far as India is concerned. Compared to markets like the US and China, India's EV field of play is still nascent but the Centre and state governments in recent times have shown a determined intent to play catch up.