India Proposes Making All Vehicles Electric By 2030


Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of State for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy, says his country is working on a plan to make every car in the country an electric vehicle by 2030. “We have created a working group under the leadership of road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, who is good at coming up with large scale programs. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and I are members of this group. We will meet in the first week of April to see if India can 100% be on electric vehicles by 2030,” Goyal said at the Conference on Young Indians organized by industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry on March 26.

India new cars

Under the plan, the vehicles will be given without an upfront payment and will be paid for by users over a period of time from the savings made on fuel, he added. The idea is inspired by the success of the government’s campaign to promote energy-efficient LED bulbs, which has seen costs falling by 80% over 18 months. Power utilities distribute these bulbs and consumers pay for them over a period of time from the savings in their power bills.

The plan has the approval of the automobile industry. “It is a great, workable model. Promoting electric or hybrid cars through innovative schemes can reduce vehicular pollution, reduce fossil fuel dependence and will be beneficial for the consumer. We will work with the government on this,” said Vishnu Mathur, director general of industry lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). India’s automobile industry is the sixth-largest in the world and accounts for 22% of the country’s total manufacturing output.

Goyal said the idea is to make the program entirely self-financing without any assistance from the government. “We do not need even one paisa from the government or the people. We will see if we can give electric cars for free and monetize the savings you can have (from not using fossil fuels) and pay for the vehicles,” he said.

“We have not yet decided who will manufacture these vehicles and where. We are thinking of scale and of leading the world rather than following the world. India will be the first country to think on such a scale,” said Goyal. Mathur said that achieving scale can help in promoting localization of cutting-edge components as well as local development of technology.

Bear in mind that these cars are likely to be bare bones basic transportation as opposed to the fully optioned transportation cocoons Americans are used to. But just think how this model could have ramifications for nations around the globe who are determined to lower their carbon emissions.

This announcement comes shortly after Important Media president Zachary Shahan made a presentation in Mumbai (last month) at a conference that focused on disruptive technology. Piyush Goyal was also present at that conference. Perhaps Zachary’s words and ideas had some influence on Goyal? We would like to think so. You can view Zachary’s entire presentation in the YouTube video below.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • GregS

    Interesting. Doesn’t Norway already have a similar plan?

    • Steve Hanley

      Norway DOES have a plan to make all new cars electric by 2030. The big difference with the India proposal is making the cars available with no down payment and using fuel savings to pay for them. That is a really novel idea. it sounds like something Elon Musk would come up with!

      Thanks for your comment.

      • GregS

        Yes this is good news indeed.
        Am waiting for somebody in the US to finally make an electric school bus. They don’t usually do very long routes and stop quite often, so regen braking would be high. Also might be good idea to put some high efficiency solar panel on the roof. These could (help) recharge the bus in between the morning and afternoon runs. In the Summer when they are sitting, they could be plugged into the grid and help provide power.

        • Steve Hanley

          While all our focus is on automobiles, the truth is that trucks, school buses, delivery vehicles, and ocean going ships are where the biggest emission reductions could be accomplished and relatively easily, too.

          All that is need to make that happen is to make renewable power cheaper than diesel and Presto! Adam Smith’s unseen hand will do the rest.

      • t_

        Elon Musk has come up with the opposite idea first – make a new thing and charge the most for it, as it is new and modern. And this stops the fast development of the technology, as the number of people who can afford it is limited.
        India’s example is just the opposite – the state leads in developing this new model and hopes, all will follow. Here could be seen the real math – if the car can save you a lot of money – here you go, take it and save. Obviously, the indian governemnt beleives in the real savings.

  • Leeper

    I was looking under the hood of my imiev today and thought that it’d be a great vehicle in developing countries if you got rid of the required American luxuries. Without the power steering, heat, ac, and abs, you could have room for a nice little frunk. You’d also have the benefit of dropping like $5,000!

    • Steve Hanley

      Good point! I’m sure the cars India has in mind are closer to neighborhood electric vehicles that anything red blooded Americans would drive, but there are millions of people around the world who would be quite OK with that.

  • super390

    This might be a chance for Tata to finally use all its idle Nano production capability. People didn’t want to be seen in a $2500 car even if it was all they could afford, but an electric version has the virtue of patriotism for a country that doesn’t produce oil.

    • Steve Hanley

      Correct on both counts!

  • AaronD12

    India has laws about companies selling products in India: They must have factories in India. Whichever company comes and makes their EVs must make them in India. That obviously complicates things.

    • Steve Hanley

      Not if you are already a maker of electric cars in India! Actually, lots of countries have similar policies. China does not forbid imported cars, but it taxes the bejezus out of them and practically forces companies to buddy up with a Chinese “partner.”