The government has been spearheading the Electric Vehicles adoption for quite some times. However, each time there were discussions on the need of this big shift in the automobile industry, the naysayers would ask- ‘But where is the infrastructure to support electric vehicles across India?’
Now, with the Department of Heavy Industries sanctioning 2636 charging stations in 62 cities across 24 States/UTs under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) scheme Phase II, the critics can’t find solace in citing the chicken and egg situation.
EV Infrastructure Picking Up
With this new announcement, the total number of charging stations that will be installed across the selected cities now stands at about 14,000. These 2636 new EV charging stations are going to be spread across India in the following manner.
Maharashtra- 317, Andhra Pradesh -266, Tamil Nadu- 256, Gujarat- 228, Rajasthan-205, Uttar Pradesh 207, Karnataka 172, Madhya Pradesh 159, West Bengal 141, Telangana 138, Kerala 131, Delhi 72, Chandigarh 70, Haryana 50, Meghalaya 40, Bihar 37, Sikkim 29, 25 each in Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, 20 in Assam, 18 in Odisha and 10 each in Uttarakhand, Puducherry and Himachal Pradesh.
From Doubting to Delivery – Changing Scene
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has already allayed the fears of about the infrastructure availability and affordability with regard to Electric Vehicles long-back, citing the example of cell phones, which saw massive price drops to become pervasive and affordable. He opined that the same will happen with Electric Vehicles in India once the adoption picks up. He said,
“We have got the engineering capability, scale, manpower, and the availability of the raw material. Because of the scrappage policy, it will be easy for automobile manufacturers to reduce costs as recycling of material will become very easy.”
Minister Piyush Goyal also cited the example of reduction in the price of LED bulbs because of the bulk procurement by the government to assert that India can achieve the same scale in EVs also.
Rajiv Bajaj, who was initially at loggerheads with the government over EV policy and later on convinced, even announcing the arrival of Chetak electric scooters, had put it aptly many months ago when he said,
“We should not get caught in this vicious cycle of chicken-and-egg where we say whether EVs should come first or whether EV charging stations should come first because nobody is going to put up an infrastructure for anything unless they actually see demand (for EVs) on the roads. So, it is squarely the job of the manufacturer, not of the government, not of the Niti Aayog, not of the FM or the PM.”
He recalled that demand for alternate-fuel driven auto-rickshaws picked up despite the absence of the CNG fuel stations in Delhi in the past.
Anand Mahindra, Chiarman of Mahindra & Mahindra group is the firm believer in making India a global hub for EVs, with his group rolling out many plans.
A Quick Rear View
The government of India unveiled a vision document on the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020, in 2013. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi, recognising these problems, took an early start and launched FAME India Mission to tackle problems on all three fronts i.e. dependence on oil import, loss of FOREX and CO2 emission.
Back in July 2019, the government sanctioned 5,645 electric buses for intracity operations in 65 cities and intercity operations to 8 state transport undertakings. You can read about many developments on EV in our previous article Electric Mobility Gets a Boost in India.
With all these developments that are already unfolded, the adding up of EV charging stations across the nation serves as a medicine to sceptics.