Cost of electric vehicles will be on a par with petrol variants in 2 years: Nitin Gadkari
New Delhi: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that the cost of electric vehicles (EV) in India will drop to the level of petrol vehicles in the next two years.
“Within two years, the cost of EVs will come down to a level that will be at par with their petrol variants. Already GST is only 5% on EVs and the cost of lithium ion batteries is also declining. Besides, the government has already framed a policy allowing petrol pumps to set up EV charging stations. In two years there will be a lot charging points across India as well,” Gadkari said at a webinar, organised by The Sustainability Foundation, Denmark, on accelerating the phasing out of coal and switching to electric vehicles, in the national capital on Sunday evening.
“Electric mobility is gaining good momentum in the country. There is no artificial push required. The per kilometre cost of petrol-based vehicle is ₹10, that of diesel is ₹7/km, whereas for EVs, it is ₹1/km,” he said.
This is significant because by 2030, India has set a target of 30% EV sales penetration for private cars, 70% for commercial vehicles, 40% for buses and 80% for two- and three-wheelers. At present, only about 2-3 e-car variants cost below ₹15 lakh in the country. The cost of two-wheelers and three-wheelers have already almost come at par with the existing petrol after factoring in the subsidies.
Gadkari further said that a potential pilot project is being planned to install an electric highway system in the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway which can be electrified using abundant solar power energy in the region. Apart from this, the government also plans to set up charging points at fuel stations.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has chalked out a plan to install at least 700 EV charging stations across its major highways in the country by 2023. These will be spread across a range of 40-60kms.
The Union minister said that the central government is also focusing on ensuring that EV charging stations get their electricity from renewable sources. The government will also soon launch the country’s fully electric tractor, the minister added. This comes months after Gadkari introduced the country’s first-ever tractor run on CNG in February this year.
“There is no benefit in producing coal based electricity. Our attention is now on renewable sources such as solar, tidal, wind energy and biomass. Domestic EV charging can be fulfilled through rooftop solar system. The average retail electricity charge across the country is as high as ₹7-8 kWh, that of backup power with diesel generator sets is as high as ₹20/kwh. Meanwhile, solar power is less than ₹2/kwh today. So, rooftop solar system can address the twin problem of high electricity cost and grid reliability,” he said.
At present, India has world’s fourth largest renewable energy capacity at 145 GW. Gadkari said domestic EV charging through solar PV cells, panel system at homes, malls, parking lots and offices would make EVs more affordable and adaptable.
The country has seen an increased demand for small battery operated vehicles such as e-scooters, e-carts, e-autos, e-bicycles in the past two years, Gadkari said.
Electric two-wheeler and electric car sales have seen a rise of 145% and 190% respectively when compared to the pre-Covid period, he said. India has the potential to become an exporter in these two segments of EVs, the minister added.