India’s electric vehicles market is expected to be the next biggest breakthrough in the country’s booming automotive industry, after being named one of the world’s leading markets for Microcars and becoming one of the major auto parts suppliers in the global market. Today, India is already the world’s third largest automotive market following China and the US. However, with the growing negative side effects caused by its booming automotive industry, such as pollution and oil waste, electric vehicles sector is set to become the new focus for future development.
According to India’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, government is trying to push annual sales of electric and hybrid cars to hit 6 million to 7 million units by 2020. While the even bolder goal set by the government indicates that India will sell only electric vehicles by 2030. India’s Energy Minister Piyush Goyal also suggest that the government will financially support the initiative for the first two or three years, but the production of electric vehicles will be “driven by demand and not subsidy” after that.
To achieve that goal, an incentive programme called FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicle) was launched by the government in 2015, to promote hybrid and electric vehicle sales in the country. Under this programme, Rs 70 crore was spent as incentives in 2015 – 2016.
Thanks to government support, the sales of electric cars and hybrid cars in India have experienced a big leap over the recent years. The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) announced that the sales of electric vehicles in India totalled 22,000 units (2,000 four wheelers and 20,000 two wheelers) in fiscal year of 2015- 2016, registering an impressive 37.5% growth over the previous fiscal year.
Currently, electric cars only account for a very small share in India’s automotive market. The statistics from the Indian government show that total hybrid and electric passenger vehicles represented around 1.3% of all passenger vehicle sales in the country in 2015 – 2016. Considering there were no hybrid and electric vehicles in India at all around three years ago, this is still a notable achievement.
So far, India’s capital city New Delhi is the largest domestic market for electric vehicles sales, representing about 62% of the electric vehicles sold in the country in 2016. Mahindra & Mahindra is the largest seller of electric vehicles in the country. The Mahindra e20 small electric hatchback is the top seller in India for the segment.
However, to further push those electric vehicle sales will remain a challenge for India. Now, high battery costs drive the price of the electric vehicles too high, even with government subsidies, public still intend to buy traditional cars. Meanwhile, lack of a relevant infrastructure, such as charging points, is another factor that may restrain the development of electric vehicles in India – many drivers of electric cars afraid of running out of electric power and unable to recharge before they arrive at their destination.