TERI suggests a four-pronged approach to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in India. “TERI’s analysis suggests that the first step should be to shift buses, taxis, and two-wheelers to EVs, as well as short motorized trips to non-motorised transport. This is towards an overall aim to encourage the use of public transport and reduce uptake of motorized private vehicles. This will help reduce pollution in cities, decrease growth in petroleum imports, lower consumer fuel costs, and cut carbon emissions and road congestion”, said Mr. Shri Prakash, Distinguished Fellow, TERI.
TERI has highlighted the following aspects that should be considered while formulating a policy roadmap for EVs:
Stakeholder involvement - A stakeholder consultation and participation process needs to be immediately initiated that takes into account the views of all those concerned - users, manufacturers, electricity and oil marketing companies. This will help prepare a well-planned EV transformation program, which can be implemented through a market-based approach. This will also help overcome problems of low customer acceptance and manufacturer reluctance.
Preparedness of infrastructure - A public electric charging infrastructure, as well as a marketing infrastructure to provide an alternate business model for providing batteries, are essential for acceptance of a shift to EVs. TERI’s analyses indicate that for many categories of EVs - buses, taxis, 2-wheelers - the cost of an EV version (without batteries) is less than that of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) version, and the lifetime cost of batteries and recharging is less than the lifetime cost of petrol or diesel. This suggests the need for a new business model decoupling the EV cost and the battery cost, as well as of public charging facilities to allay range anxiety amongst users.
City-specific mobility plans - Given that every city has a unique pattern of mobility, there is a need to focus on comprehensive plans customized to the need for each city, with a specific focus on the mass transit system, supported by non-motorised transport, such as bicycles. TERI’s analysis shows that 60% of trip lengths in Indian cities are of less than 5 km, and 80% are of less than 10 km. If 50% of two-wheeler and four-wheeler trips under the average distance of 5 km shift to cycling, this alone can bring significant environmental benefits and economic savings of INR 1,435 billion.
Accelerated development of battery technology - A robust battery technology within the acceptable price is yet to be evolved, and requires impetus from the government to promote systematic research, development, and application, with clear long term policy for technology adoption.
TERI suggests that the four-pronged approach should be put into place immediately, within a national framework. This national framework will need to involve several Ministries, including the Ministry of Surface Transport, the Ministry of Heavy Industry, and the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, as well as the Niti Aayog.