Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari believes the cost of EVs, within two years, will come down to a level that will be at par with petrol variants. He said that already GST is only 5% on electric vehicles and the cost of lithium ion batteries is also declining.
“Besides, the government has already framed a policy allowing petrol pumps to set up EV charging stations. In two years there will be a lot of charging points across India as well,” Gadkari said at a webinar, which was organized by The Sustainability Foundation, on accelerating the phasing out of coal and switching to electric vehicles, on Sunday.
The minister acknowledged that electric mobility is gaining good momentum in India. “There is no artificial push required. The per kilometer cost of petrol-based vehicle is Rs 10, that of diesel is Rs 7 per km, whereas for EVs, it is Rs 1 per km.”
Gadkari said a potential pilot project is being planned to install an electric highway system in the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway which can be electrified using abundant solar power energy in the region. The government also plans to set up charging points at fuel stations. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has chalked out a plan to install at least 700 EV charging stations across its major highways in the country by 2023. These will be spread across a range of 40 to 60 kms.
The Union Transport Minister said the central government will also ensure that EV charging stations get their electricity from renewable sources. He added that the government will launch a fully electric tractor soon.
Furthermore, Gadkar said there is no benefit in producing coal based electricity. “Our attention is now on renewable sources such as solar, tidal, wind energy and biomass. Domestic EV charging can be fulfilled through rooftop solar system. The average retail electricity charge across the country is as high as Rs 20 km/hr.” He highlighted that solar power is less than Rs 2/kwh today. “So rooftop solar system can address the twin problem of high electricity cost and grid reliability.”
The minister believes that domestic EV charging through solar PV cells, panel system at homes, malls, parking lots and offices would make EVs more affordable and adaptable.