When the minister of heavy industries Anant Geete arrived at Parliament in an electric car in December, he wasn’t just making a statement about his environment consciousness, he was also trying to highlight his government’s focus on having 6-7 million electric cars on Indian roads by 2020.
And keeping this mission — called the National Electric Mobility Mission — in mind, four ministers met to find ways to popularise electric cars. They included Piyush Goyal (power), Dharmendra Pradhan (oil), Prakash Javdekar (environment) and Nitin Gadkari (transport).
The proposals include a zero down payment scheme, attractive discounts and seven-year financing options.
“In the four-wheeler segment the only option is M&M’s Reva, but with rising consciousness, there will be more competition in the future. So far, the available options lack range and power, they are also small. But the challenge is to ensure affordability. Tesla will enter the Indian market, but how much does it cost?” said a source in the heavy industries ministry.
Tesla Motors is the world’s most successful electric carmaker and its range starts at $35,000 in the US.
The Mahindra Verito Electric Geete rode to Parliament cost upwards of Rs 13 lakh and is unavailable at present.
Apart from pricing the other challenge is infrastructure for charging electric cars. A concern area that the group of ministers are looking into.
“The government will soon start the work of installing charging points at public places including shopping malls,” says an officer familiar with the matter. He further explained that the government will spend Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years to improve technology to manufacture electric cars in India.