High expectations notwithstanding, the electric vehicle industry scored a blank in this year’s budget, with a token two-year extension of existing exemptions on basic customs duty and special additional duty on specific components as the only incentives.
The industry was expecting
a full-fledged rollout of the National Mission for electric and hybrid mobility, replete with subsidies and cash discounts, but was left empty-handed.
"It is very surprising that there was hardly anything to encourage production and use of electric and hybrid vehicles," said Pawan Goenka, president (automotive sector) Mahindra and Mahindra.
"On various forums the stress on encouraging the use of alternate energy vehicles have been underlined, and we were expecting some subsidy or other sop would be announced. Even the Prime Minister has reiterated the need. (But) nothing happened."
The government had last year released a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 that envisages an overall investment of Rs. 20,000 crore by the end of this decade.
Around Rs. 14,000 crore would be borne by the government, while the auto industry would invest the balance.
An earlier subsidy scheme on electric vehicles that offered a maximum of 20% rebate on the cost of the car, expired in March 2012, and was brought back into the new policy.
With this the government expected the alternate fuel vehicle population to grow to around 5 million by 2020 from a mere 400,000 two-wheelers and 1,500 Revas (the only electric car available in the country now) on the road today.