India not ready for electric cars

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the second phase of FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] on September 7. However, the fact is that India is not ready for electric cars, at least not yet. And the main reason for this is the complete absence of fast charging facilities. The fast charging infrastructure will take at least 3-4 years develop and only then would the people be able to use these cars.

76% vehicles are two-wheelers

A Tesla electric car

In India, 76 per cent of the vehicles are two-wheelers. They consume 64 per cent of the fuel used in vehicles and are responsible for 30 per cent of the vehicular pollution.

Electric vehicles form a very small part of the total number of vehicles sold in the country. According to the National Automotive Board, only 2.30 lakh electric vehicles were sold in India in the past three and a half years. In contrast, in China, 6.5 lakh such vehicles were sold in 2016 alone.

Charging takes up to 24 hours

Lack of fast charging facilities is the key reason why the sale of electric vehicles is sluggish in the country. Currently, the chargers available in India are so slow that it takes around 24 hours to fully charge a Tesla car. Fast chargers, on the other hand, can charge batteries up to 80 per cent in just 20 minutes. It was due to the lack of fast charging facilities that the government has decided to put off its plans for purchasing 10,000 electric cars for its use.

There are two options for installing fast charging facility – European and Japanese. India is yet to decide which of the two systems it would adopt.

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