The government’s policy to switch to electric vehicles should be driven by practicality, rather than unrealistic expectations which may disrupt the automotive industry that is already reeling under stress, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said on Sunday.
Another industry body — the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), came out in support of the auto sector, stating that there is a need for wider consultations with stakeholders before the target and the time line for electric vehicles are set.
Terming the auto industry “perhaps the only real success story of India’s manufacturing”, SIAM President Rajan Wadhera said it was imperative that this success story was not affected by “undue haste” in banning mature automotive technologies in the next 5-6 years, while hoping that EV technologies would fully replace the demand within such a short period.
The reactions come amid reports that the government plans to ban sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) three-wheelers by 2023 as well as of less than 150 cc two-wheelers by 2025.
“Such unrealistic expectations and policies would not only adversely affect the world no 1 two/three-wheeler industry, but may not help in making EVs acceptable to the customer and the market,” he added.
“…the [government’s EV] ambition needs to be tempered with a practical approach and what is possible without needlessly disrupting the automotive industry,” Mr. Wadhera, who is also the President of Automotive Sector at Mahindra and Mahindra, said.
SIAM pointed out that the automotive industry is currently facing multiple challenges, including leapfrogging to BS VI emission norms and complying with new safety norms “in the shortest time-frame ever attempted in the world. This is engaging the attention of the industry and is involving investments of the order of ₹70,000-80,000 crore.”
Mr. Wadhera further added that none of the stakeholders in the country – industry, government and the suppliers — had any meaningful experience of EVs to even contemplate a complete 100% shift to two/three wheeler EV 2023/2025.
“What is required is a well laid out roadmap for an ambitious EV rollout over a practical timeframe along with an integrated plan for setting up the necessary infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country, in consultation with all stakeholders,” he said.
The CII has suggested a three-pronged strategy for this transformational shift in transportation. “One of the first strategies to adopt is to set the right goal that should be seen from the macro perspective of carbon footprint and energy security. The target and the time line set to achieve the desired goal needs to be deliberated with diverse stakeholder consultations at the initial phase so that it is both sustainable and achievable,” CII President Vikram Kirloskar said.
The industry chamber added that it has engaged with stakeholders from various interlinked industries such as renewables electricity and power, battery makers and auto manufacturers to create recommendations that will help India achieve its goals of lowering emissions and conform to commitments on climate change.