WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
The electric vehicle revolution is gaining speed, and now India follows in Germany’s footsteps announcing the end of petrol and diesel car sales from 2030.
Earlier this week India’s Coal and Mines Minister, Piyush Goyal, announced that by the year 2030 every car sold in India will be electric, and while this news sounds fantastic it comes hot on the heels of a mirror copy of the announcement from Germany who last year passed laws banning the sale of combustion engines from 2030 onwards, and a similar announcement by China who wants to replace 67,000 taxi’s with electric vehicles.
In India’s case Goyal hopes that the move will help to lower the cost of running electric vehicles, as more manufacturers are encouraged to plow money into their development and the associated EV charging networks, lower the cost of imported fuel and generally help to improve the health of India’s people.
“We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way,” said Goyal, speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry Annual Session 2017 in New Delhi. Speaking with reporters, he compared the initiative to the successful 2015 promotion of LED lightbulbs, which was intended to reduce energy bills.
“We are going to make electric vehicles self-sufficient. The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country.”
In order to kick start the initiative though Goyal also announced that he believes that the Indian Government will, for the first three years at least, be needed to help support and potentially even subsidise the electric vehicle (EV) industry, but that after that he expects the production of EV’s to be driven by “demand not subsidy.”
“The cost of electric vehicles will start to pay for itself for consumers,” he said, “we would love to see the electric vehicle industry run on its own.”
The global switch to EV’s, and the switch away from fossil fuels, is now beginning to look inevitable. There’s Tesla of course who are the market leader but over the past few years there have been dramatic improvements in drive trains, a key component of EV’s; battery efficiency, which includes the creation of new polymers that can charge EV’s in seconds; charging networks, with the US, for example, announcing it will be rolling out over 25,000 miles of EV charging stations; and all that’s the tip of the ice berg.
As for India though one of the biggest benefits, it could be argued, could be in helping to improve public health – earlier this year Greenpeace released a report that attributed as many as 2.3 million deaths annually to air pollution in India. The report- entitled “Airpocalypse” – calls air pollution a “public health and economic crisis” for Indians, pointing out that the number of air pollution deaths in the nation are only “a fraction less” than the number of tobacco deaths. Furthermore, a full 3 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is devoured by toxic smog in the form of healthcare and other remediation costs.
The report also indicated that without immediate action and a “robust monitoring system,” the problem will worsen: “India’s pollution trends have been steadily increasing, with India overtaking China in number of deaths due to outdoor air pollution in 2015.” For example, Delhi, which is India’s most polluted city, was found to have particulate matter concentrations 13 times the yearly limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO). So while there are many reasons to switch to EV’s it looks like this report might have struck a chord with Goyal who indicated that the plan would focus on “larger consumer centers, where pollution is at an all-time high,” first.