6 million electric vehicles on Indian roads – the path to tomorrowland

It is said that Norway, with a population of just about 5.2 million, has well over 130, 000 electric vehicles (EV) plying on its streets. Those also have the lowest ecological footprint in the world as they are run on hydropower.

Other nations with considerable uptake of EVs include the Netherlands, the UK, the US, France, Germany and Japan. And our neighbour China, whose cities are battling as severe a case of vehicular pollution as we are, tops EV sales in the world in terms of volume.

Dogged with spiking carbon emissions that is rapidly deteriorating the quality of air in its cities, India now wishes to join their league. Our government has grand plans to supplant all petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars choking the nation’s streets and air with greener EVs by 2030. If it succeeds in implementing that vision, there will be around 6 million electric cars on Indian streets by 2020.

But with 240 million people in the nation still living without electricity and with thermal power still accounting for well over half the electricity generated, that might sound over ambitious.

However, from the looks of it, the government is hell bent. Transport minister Nitin Gadkari has just sent out a strict warning to Indian auto firms to switch to electric vehicles powered by less polluting fuels (ethanol and biofuels) or risk being hit hard by a policy change.

A push to adopt electric vehicles, driven by any of such sources of power, besides achieving the primary objective of bringing down pollution drastically, is also slated to have a positive impact on the manufacturing sector. This is because India’s automobile industry, which is the sixth largest in the world and accounts for 22 percent of the country’s total manufacturing output, is seeing explosive growth.

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