The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has sought incentives from the government to push for electric vehicles (EVs). The association, however, refused to make a similar pitch for hybrid vehicles.
The industry is largely divided into two on this issue. Some, such as Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Tata Motors, are pushing for EVs. The rest, such as Maruti Suzuki India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Honda Cars India and Hyundai Motor India, are all for hybrids, and are asking for incentives for that technology.
Incentives are an “important ingredient” in developing EVs, said Rajan Wadhera, President of SIAM. Any disruption in technology needs nudging, incentivising, a favourable regulatory climate and helpful policy framework, he added.
“All these four pillars are important for any technology disruption to proliferate. I would say both SIAM and the government are looking at all the four things to happen so that disruption, which is required the world over — in terms of pollution control and energy security — happens more meaningfully and people start buying things as an objective,” Wadhera said.
He further said EVs are already getting popular, particularly in shared mobility, as is already apparent in electric buses and commercial vehicles. However, EVs have to come with the right infrastructure to make them affordable, he added.
“Who is going to invest on infrastructure? Companies can’t…So infrastructure has to be again incentivised. I am not talking of incentivising the product…it’s the entire ecosystem of charging, electricity availability, connectivity, the charger standards…That ecosystem would need incentives to give a trigger,” he said.
However, when asked about incentives or subsidies for hybrid vehicles, Wadhera said: “We are not saying that. As SIAM, what we are saying is, fuel efficiency norms are specified…let individual companies meet those norms.” Incidentally, Wadhera is also President, Automotive Sector, M&M, which is at present India’s largest EV manufacturer.
However, because of the high prices, accentuated by the lack of incentives (apart from a few benefits given by some the local State governments), EV sales are not zooming.
For instance, the E2O Plus (P4) is sold for around ₹6.07 lakh in Delhi (that includes FAME subsidy and State subsidy), while the same car is sold in Bengaluru for around ₹7.34 lakh as there is no State subsidy.
The EV sector has sold just around 46,000 units between April and September, of which only around 700 units are cars. Around 98 per cent of the total sales are led by two-wheelers, according to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles.