SIAM makes big push for elec­tric cars

Says sops are key ‘in­gre­di­ent’ for EV growth; re­mains mum on hy­brids

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

The So­ci­ety of In­dian Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers (SIAM) has sought in­cen­tives from the gov­ern­ment to push for elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs). The as­so­ci­a­tion, how­ever, re­fused to make a sim­i­lar pitch for hy­brid ve­hi­cles.

The in­dus­try is largely di­vided into two on this is­sue. Some, such as Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra (M&M) and Tata Mo­tors, are push­ing for EVs. The rest, such as Maruti Suzuki In­dia, Toy­ota Kir­loskar Mo­tor, Honda Cars In­dia and Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia, are all for hy­brids, and are ask­ing for in­cen­tives for that tech­nol­ogy.

In­cen­tives are an “im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent” in de­vel­op­ing EVs, said Ra­jan Wad­hera, Pres­i­dent of SIAM. Any dis­rup­tion in tech­nol­ogy needs nudg­ing, in­cen­tivis­ing, a favourable reg­u­la­tory cli­mate and help­ful pol­icy frame­work, he added.

Four pil­lars

“All these four pil­lars are im­por­tant for any tech­nol­ogy dis­rup­tion to pro­lif­er­ate. I would say both SIAM and the gov­ern­ment are look­ing at all the four things to hap­pen so that dis­rup­tion, which is re­quired the world over — in terms of pol­lu­tion con­trol and en­ergy se­cu­rity — hap­pens more mean­ing­fully and peo­ple start buy­ing things as an ob­jec­tive,” Wad­hera said.

He fur­ther said EVs are al­ready get­ting pop­u­lar, par­tic­u­larly in shared mo- bil­ity, as is al­ready ap­par­ent in elec­tric buses and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles. How­ever, EVs have to come with the right in­fras­truc­ture to make them affordable, he added.

“Who is go­ing to in­vest on in­fras­truc­ture? Com­pa­nies can’t...So in­fras­truc­ture has to be again in­cen­tivised. I am not talk­ing of in­cen­tivis­ing the prod­uct…it’s the en­tire ecosys­tem of charg­ing, elec­tric­ity avail­abil­ity, con­nec­tiv­ity, the charger stan­dards...That ecosys­tem would need in­cen­tives to give a trig­ger,” he said.

How­ever, when asked about in­cen­tives or sub­si­dies for hy­brid ve­hi­cles, Wad­hera said: “We are not say­ing that. As SIAM, what we are say­ing is, fuel ef­fi­ciency norms are spec­i­fied…let in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies meet those norms.” Ra­jan Wad­hera, Pres­i­dent of SIAM In­ci­den­tally, Wad­hera is also Pres­i­dent, Au­to­mo­tive Sec­tor, M&M, which is at present In­dia’s largest EV man­u­fac­turer.

Poor sales

How­ever, be­cause of the high prices, ac­cen­tu­ated by the lack of in­cen­tives (apart from a few ben­e­fits given by some the lo­cal State gov­ern­ments), EV sales are not zoom­ing.

For in­stance, the E2O Plus (P4) is sold for around ₹6.07 lakh in Delhi (that in­cludes FAME sub­sidy and State sub­sidy), while the same car is sold in Ben­galuru for around ₹7.34 lakh as there is no State sub­sidy.

The EV sec­tor has sold just around 46,000 units be­tween April and Septem­ber, of which only around 700 units are cars. Around 98 per cent of the to­tal sales are led by two-wheel­ers, ac­cord­ing to the So­ci­ety of Man­u­fac­tur­ers of Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles.

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