What can one expect 12 years from now? Max Verstappen clinching F1 World Championship titles? Marc Marquez challenged by a youngster on the lines of a race track?
Or, India turning all Electric?
While the first two seem promising, the third sounds challenging.
“Electric” may sound like an unusual term in the Automotive Industry, especially considering the dominance and impact Internal Combustion Engines have had over the past 100 years.
While the dominance was sustained, the impact seems to be somewhat double-edged. And when one considers this, one realizes the need to go electric is vastly influenced by the latter.
The Indian government has set a deadline for all vehicles – both personal and commercial – to go electric by 2030, in a bid towards a cleaner, less polluted country. This may seem ambitious and the challenges that need to be overcome by both the government and auto manufacturers are plenty.
The percentage of electric cars sold in present-day India is less than 1%. Since we can assume this number is likely to go up drastically in the coming years, it would be interesting to see how production and infrastructure would be prioritized by auto manufacturers and the government, along the long and winding road to all electric.
While companies like Mahindra and Tata may slightly be ahead in this race, it’s not going to be too long before the others catch up. Several major players are collaborating to get their own electric cars ready as early as 2020.
This year’s auto expo, with its large display of electric vehicles, sent out the message that the industry is gearing up and evolving to keep abreast of the changing times.
But the greater challenge lies in consumer opinion and acceptability of change.
India’s all-electric future depends on how well consumers react and adapt to something which is inevitable. Getting the larger crowd to migrate to the other side and win them over is not going to be an easy task.
When these new electric vehicles do roll out of the showrooms, would there be acceptance of them among the public? Where indeed would such cars be re-charged? Would there be the necessary infrastructure and power supply to maintain and run them?
To satisfy increasing power demands, the Indian government is set to achieve 175 GW of power from renewable energy sources by 2022. There is also going to be an increase in power generation from non-fossil fuels (up to 40%) by 2030.
With a mere 350 EV charging stations in the country at present, there is also a pressing need for these numbers to climb up to accommodate the elevation in power demand that will follow the move to electric cars.
Unless electric cars are backed with the necessary infrastructure and support, they would find it hard to replace the value and convenience of conventional vehicles. This is a game that needs to be played simultaneously by both the auto makers and the government.
Now that the path is charted, it would be astute on the part of both the parties to buckle up and start marking points on the roadmap right away.