Mahindra e2o electric carEnlarge Photo
After announcing it would ban the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles by 2030, the world's second-most populous country plans to support that goal through private and corporate partnerships and government incentives.
India's decision to end fossil-fuel sales in the country comes with unique challenges. One is a per-capita annual income of just $1,670, but another is the fact 50 million homes in India have no electricity.
Still, the Indian government is forging ahead with its plan and automakers are working together to achieve the goal.
According to Navigant Research, numerous recent developments in India have added substance to the mechanics of the ban since the country announced it for 2030.
The plug-in hybrid version of the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback will enter the Indian market this year, Honda's Indian subsidiary is working on an electric vehicle for the market, and Suzuki—India's most popular automaker—is teaming up with Toyota to develop an electric vehicle as well.
That's crucial, because more than four in 10 new cars sold in India last year were made by the giant Maruti Suzuki company.
Smog in Dehli, India (by Flickr user Mfield)
Smog in Dehli, India (by Flickr user Mfield)Enlarge Photo
Further supporting the demand for electric vehicles will be partnerships between automakers and companies needing fleets of those vehicles in the future.
For instance, ride-sharing company Ola has debated a transition to becoming a full-blown electric-vehicle manufacturer itself.
It recently agreed with manufacturer Tata to deploy an electric version of the Nano—famously the world's least expensive vehicle when it was released a decade ago—Ola's cab fleet in Delhi.
Not to be left behind, Uber signed a partnership to pilot EVs with Indian auto manufacturer Mahinda, which itself has partnered with Ford on future electrification and self-driving car technology.
(Ford, in fact, will be the first U.S. carmaker to import a mass-market car from India for sale in North America—the 2019 Ford EcoSport subcompact crossover utility vehicle—indicating the growing size and strength of the Indian auto industry.)
The Indian government is still working on the details of specific incentives for buyers and companies to encourage the purchase of electric cars on a national level, but much has been achieved since the 2030 goal was announced almost two years ago.
2018 Ford Ecosport, 2016 Los Angeles Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
Last month, the government announced plans to roll out 150 "smart" charging stations in the country over the next 12 to 18 months, in partnership with clean-energy company Fortum Oyj's Indian subsidiary.
They will identify the car and owner via RFID chip, enabling automated billing.
Meanwhile, the government has accepted recommendations from the Committee on Standardisation of Protocol for Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure regarding a uniform charging standard for the country, which will allow those digital payments at pay-to-use charging stations.
Because Indian drivers cover shorter distances than do North American car owners, and most new cars in the country are subcompacts or compacts, electric cars will have smaller battery packs and hence can recharge to their full range more quickly than those in the U.S.