There are huge discussions going on all over the world about what could be powering our vehicles in the future. How long are internal combustion engines going to stay? Are future vehicles only going to be powered by batteries? Or will be have vehicles powered by hydrogen as well? Most certainly, it will be battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that are going to be the predominant type in the near future. However, here in India, we are actually quite far behind in the EV race.
Amidst all this, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, in a recent media event, made a statement that he expects the prices of electric cars to match those of petrol and diesel cars in the next 2 years. Now that is a rather tall expectation, even for some developed markets overseas. To give you a perspective, what Mr. Gadkari is essentially saying is that a car like the Tata Nexon EV, which is currently priced from INR 13.99 lakh, should be priced around INR 7 lakh (which is roughly the price of Tata Nexon petrol) in 2 years time. For that, prices of electric cars will have to come down by over 50%.
Mr. Gadkari said,
"I personally anticipate the prices of electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers coming down to the level of their conventional petrol counterparts in the next two years, while electric buses will retail at prices equalling their diesel-powered models. I know there are some problems, but the way in which the industry is working makes me extremely confident about achieving this. There is tremendous work going on in areas such as metal-ion and metal-air battery technologies, which are set to enable this target. My suggestion is that we must switch to import-substituting, cost-effective, pollution free and indigenous propulsion options."
This is indeed a very bold comment from an Union Minister. Mr. Gadkari seems to be betting on indigenously developed lithium ion battery technology, which will surely cost a lot lesser than imported battery tech. The main reason why electric vehicles are so much more expensive than conventional cars is due to the steep cost of the battery. If the cost of the battery can be brought down by 20-25% by indigenization, there is a possibility that the price of electric vehicles could match that of petrol/diesel cars in the years to come. But in 2 years? We are not sure.
The Indian government has been doing its part in encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by offering several subsidies on the purchase of electric cars. However, what really needs to be worked upon is improving the charging infrastructure across the country. Sure, home charging will suffice most everyday use of EVs but until and unless we build an infrastructure around EVs in the country, we will not see large scale adoption of EVs in the country. Do you think Mr. Gadkari's expectations can be met in the next two years? Let us know in the comment section below.
[Source - Autocar Professional]