Speaking at the 60th Annual Convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, said that the government's new battery policy could help boost demand for electric vehicles in India. Earlier in August, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a notification to all transport authorities allowing the sale and registration electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers without batteries. The move was welcomed by several EV makers across the country as it would lower the upfront cost of owning an electric vehicle, prompting more people to buy electric vehicles.
Javadekar was part for the panel discussion that was on the need for revival of demand in the auto industry. So, when he was asked about the reason for meek demand for electric vehicles in India, he said that growth of EV markets depends upon various factors coming together and in India, the cost is an issue and so is the lack of EV infrastructure. Talking about infrastructure, he said, "It's a chicken and egg situation right now. Because there's lack of infrastructure the demand for EVs is low, on the other hand, because there is less demand for EVs, the infrastructure is not growing. But with the new battery swapping policy in place, it is likely to help bring the cost down." Additionally, he also said that the government is also working on building more EV charging stations in India, and there are a lot of private entities who have been working on increasing EV infrastructure.
About 30-40 per cent of an EV's total cost accounts for the battery alone and this move will lower the acquisition cost bringing prices more in line with their ICE-powered counterparts. The Indian electric vehicle industry is seeing this as a positive move towards electric vehicle development, also, the new policy will open new opportunities for EV makers like leasing of batteries.
Naveen Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Electric, says "The policy is a welcome move. I am excited about the possibilities that exist in making EVs accessible to every individual in the country." At the same time, Jeetender Sharma, MD and Founder, Okinawa said, "This widens the scope for manufacturers and buyers both. We are swiftly adopting the much-needed flexibility and comfort in the EV ecosystem. Tax rebates will help drive the demand better." On the other hand Tarun Mehta, CEO and Co-Founders of Ather Energy had said, "Based on our learning, it will likely take some time for consumers to understand and adopt this model of ownership, but in the long run it will be a big boost to the Indian EV industry."