1. Electric solutions: Here is why Evehicles need much more than just tax breaks

Electric solutions: Here is why Evehicles need much more than just tax breaks

While a NITI Aayog-RMI study spoke of how 44% of vehicles on Indian roads in 2030 would be electric, it did not highlight how the country was to get there.

By: | Published: July 25, 2017 6:15 AM
Going by a clutch of international studies, promoting electrics may not be enough for a cleaner environment. (Reuters)

While a NITI Aayog-RMI study spoke of how 44% of vehicles on Indian roads in 2030 would be electric, it did not highlight how the country was to get there. The government did well to impose a lower GST of 12% on electrics—the duty is 28-43% for fossil fuel cars. Now, according to an FE report, it is mulling more reforms to bring India closer to NITI’s target of a 37% reduction in carbon emissions and a 64% fall in energy demand by 2030. The government plans to reduce the GST levy to zero and enhance customer incentives for electric vehicles (EVs). It is also mulling over incentivising local manufacturing hubs for lithium ion batteries. Going by a clutch of international studies, promoting electrics may not be enough for a cleaner environment. A study by US-based National Bureau of Economic Research highlights that subsidies given to electric vehicles were redundant in the country for states relying more on coal-based power plants. Thus, for a majority of states on the Eastern Coast in the US, where energy consumption is coal-based, electrics proved to be more polluting than gasoline. Another study from the Union of Concerned Scientists also highlights more gains for states investing in development of renewable energy sources. So, India too needs a better energy mix if it is to sustainably check fossil fuel driven pollution. Besides, a change to electrics requires smart decision-making. If India is to adopt electric cars in a big way, the government will have to create the corresponding infrastructure in the form of charging stations. If the country were to adopt a battery-switch model, it would save crores of rupees. EVs without batteries would be cheaper, making them more lucrative for the masses. An HP or a BP can then have memberships for people to step into any pump and replace their dying battery for a charged one. This way the government will not have to create as many charging stations as a large fleet of EVs would require.

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