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Technology: No down payment for owning electric vehicles in India, says minister

"India is striving hard to be the pioneer of electric vehicles. By 2030, all of India will drive EVs.

At a recent event organized by CII Young India, Piyush Goyal, Union minister of state for power, stated that India has the potential to become the first nation of its size to be 100% electric vehicle country by 2030.

“We are trying to make this programme self-financing. We don’t need one rupee support from the government. We don’t need one rupee investment from the people of India.”

He said that the government is formulating a scheme where people can be offered an electric car for free (zero down payment) and people can pay for it out of savings on petroleum products.

In 2013, India launched its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, and later its FAME plan to encourage vehicle electrification and achieve fuel security. The country has been subsidizing new EVs as well as conversions to electrify existing vehicles that are powered by fossil fuels. The government has been offering up cash to automakers to encourage EV production, and has been supporting the deployment of charging infrastructure to support an electrified fleet. This was all laid out as part of India’s goal to put 6 to 7 million hybrid and electric vehicles on its roads by 2020. Now, India is putting its electrification efforts into top gear, setting its sights on a goal of having 100 percent of the vehicles on its roads powered completely by electricity by the year 2030.

Goyal proposes that electricity tariffs need not increase, but that a more efficient electricity strategy would be necessary for the program to work. “Innovation is possible,” says Goyal, “it just needs an open mind. You need to think of scale and be honest.”

Goyal, Nitin and other ministers are looking into the feasibility of such a plan, and have arranged to meet to discuss the scheme in more detail in early April.

Goyal said that a small working group led by minister for roads Nitin Gadkari has been created with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and environment minister Prakash Javadekar on its board.

“We are meeting in first week of April and see if India can be 100 per cent on electric vehicles by 2030. We are trying to see if we can monetize the savings then you will have use cheaper electricity for sharing of your cars.”

“We are thinking of scale. We are thinking of leading the world rather than following the world. India will be first largest country in the world to think of that scale,” Goyal said."

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