Lack of policy not to hamper development of EVs, say auto-makers

Lack of policy not to hamper development of EVs, say auto-makers

(EDS: Adding comments from Ford India)

New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) Automobile manufacturers, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra Electric and Mercedes-Benz have said that the absence of an electric vehicle (EV) policy will not come in the way of their developing the eco-friendly vehicles.

Ford India, however, said it will be an "arduous task" to achieve the goal of an-all EV fleet without a road map and clarity on availability of charging infrastructure, investment and incentives guidelines as well as the stand of state governments on such vehicles vis-a-vis hybrids & other technologies.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had said last week that there was no need for a policy for EVs as an action plan has been prepared and technology should not be trapped by rules and regulations.

"As far as we are concerned, there is no change in our EV programme. We will go ahead with our plans as before," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman RC Bhargava told PTI.

He was responding to a query on whether the absence of an EV policy would alter the companys EV development programme.

MSI had announced that it planned to launch an EV in India by 2020.

Bhargava further said: "The need for electrification (of vehicles) remains and it is for the industry to work out how to do it and if they need support they have to approach the government."

Expressing similar views, Mahindra Electric CEO Mahesh Babu said, "Currently, we aren??t expecting any additional policy push. We would, however, recommend that the current support under FAME and special tax structure for EVs continues for at least the next 2 years."

Existing schemes are being implemented on ground and the resultant increase in EV adoption should start showing in the next 1-2 years time-frame, he added.

Babu said the processing of tender for 10,000 EVs by EESL is already underway and the resultant adoption can already be noticed.

Appreciating the governments vision of reducing pollution and oil import bills, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Roland Folger said, "Mercedes-Benz advocates a technology agnostic approach with the co-existence of all technologies and we shouldn??t foreclose better technological options available, when it comes to define the path for future mobility in India."

The Internal Combustion Engine (BS-VI), the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and the EVs should all exist together and there should be a staggered approach, he added.

"Mercedes-Benz is fully committed to electrification and we have an ambitious plan to offer at least an electrified alternative in every Mercedes model segment by 2022 -- from compact cars up to large SUVs," Folger said.

Offering a different perspective, a Ford India spokesperson said the Indian automotive market, with over 3 million cars sold in FY17, offers significant growth potential for the electric cars, which constituted merely 0.1% of the PV sales in FY17.

"Taking it from 0.1 per cent to 100 per cent is an arduous task, without the road map and clarity on the availability of charging infrastructure, investment and incentives guidelines and the role/stand of state governments on EVs versus hybrids and other technologies,?? the spokesperson added.

Players in Indian automobile industry have been seeking an EV policy to take forward their development programme after Niti Aayog come out last year with a vision for 100 per cent public transport vehicles and 40 per cent of private vehicles to become all electric by 2030.

In a white paper, auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had also called for a policy that should collectively aim at improving affordability and acceptance of EVs by bridging viability gap; enabling build out of charging infrastructure; encouraging domestic manufacturing and creating public awareness and other enablers. PTI RKL SA -