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India May Be First 100% EV Country by 2030

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Let’s address the elephant in the room right now: India has not been in a good place with its air quality. We have talked a few times about the horrendous levels of toxic air pollution (especially in Delhi, the most polluted capital city in the world), but easy solutions to that problem are hard to come by. Delhi ran a test car ban for two weeks, with some mixed results–on the one hand, pollution fell 10%, scientists were able to gather some concrete data, and the government was able to gauge the public reaction to these kinds of measures. On the other hand, however, pollution was still way too high, at around six times India’s legal limit.

Additionally, India is suffering from problems related to overpopulation and poverty that would drive people to cheaper, gas-powered vehicles (if they can afford to drive at all).

A small group of Indian politicians led by the Road, Oil, and Power ministers thinks that they may have the solution, though: zero-down-payment EVs. The logic goes like this: since EVs are so much cheaper to operate on a day-to-day basis than gasoline vehicles, new owners (sans down payment) would be able to use the money saved from gas to pay for the monthly payments on the car. Then, with EVs being so much cheaper to get your hands on as well as operate, more citizens will buy an EV or switch from a gas-powered vehicle, thus cutting a fair percentage of car-generated pollution.

India Traffic

So imagine this, but with no engine noise
Image: Alex Graves

The thing is, though, this is a huge risk for the Indian government to take on. By offering a ton of government-subsidized vehicles for sale, India would be putting down a hefty initial investment, while at the same time placing something around half of the population in debt. On the other hand, this kind of switch has been done before on a much smaller scale by getting Indian residents to switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs, with the cost being added to subsequent energy bills.

Proponents of the plan seem pretty optimistic in spite of these risks: Power Minister Piyush Goyal told the India Times that “India can become the first country of its size which will run 100 per cent of electric vehicles. 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 later added, “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.”

Here’s hoping that enthusiasm yields results for India, which could then be replicated by other countries.

News Sources: Auto EvolutionIndia Times