Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Electric vehicle switchover haste irks industry

Stakeholders call government's 2025 deadline unrealistic in the absence of proper infrastructure

Rajiv Singh
Published: Jun 18, 2019 10:17:49 AM IST
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 09:54:38 PM IST

Electric vehicle switchover haste irks industryImage: Sanket Wankhade / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The two-wheeler industry is battling subdued consumer sentiment and falling sales. Adding to its woes is a proposed roadmap by the government to switch all vehicles below 150 cc to electric by 2025.

“We propose a more cautious, clear and realistic roadmap towards the adoption of EVs (electric vehicles),” Pawan Munjal, chairman of Hero MotoCorp, said in a media statement. He appreciated the government’s long-term vision, but reckoned that the scale and timing of adoption needed prudent deliberations. Munjal said the deadline also came close on the heels of the implementation of BS-VI norms in 2020.

Rajiv Bajaj terms the deadline ‘unrealistic’. “Putting any deadline to something that none of the stakeholders has any meaningful experience with is not courageous, but foolhardy,” says the managing director of Bajaj Auto. He believes a hasty implementation might lead to poor quality of product and infrastructure which, in turn, could put off customers forever.  

TVS Motor, too, is alarmed by the EV switchover haste. To force an unrealistic deadline will not just create consumer discontent, but also risks derailing auto-manufacturing in India that supports 4 million jobs, Venu Srinivasan, chairman of TVS Motor, said in a press release. The supporting infrastructure for charging also needs to be as robust as conventional fuel options, he said.

Experts point to another nagging issue: Disposal of used batteries. “This is a major risk that no one is taking seriously. No clarity over disposal or recycling of used batteries at the end of their lifecycle is big threat to the environment,” warns Amit Kaushik, managing director at Urban Science, a Detroit-based global consulting firm. Switching to EV regime in haste is going to be a high-risk game, considering the unavailability of infrastructure and adequate resources to support the idea, he adds.

(This story appears in the 05 July, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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