Taking on Minister of State for Power and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal, Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO Roland Folger has urged the government “not to rush with the all-EV push” and thus “foreclose better technological options” for future generations as the rest of the world is racing to run on hydrogen and not electricity.
While sharing about the Government of India’s EV plans, Piyush Goyal had stated, “We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self- sufficient like UJALA. The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country.”
Speaking to PTI, Mercedes-Benz Chief has pointed out two important points that the India government might have missed while aiming to go all EV by 2030.
Firstly, the plan to go all EV by 2030 is not a viable solution as most of the automobile companies haven’t yet started their EV production in India. Secondly, Roland said that it would foreclose the other options and better technologies that automobile companies are currently looking into. For instance “ By 2040, the whole world will be driving home hydrogen cars. To me, the whole plan to go electric nationwide looks like a rushed with the idea.”
The Indian government recently became proactive in making India a nation of electric cars. In January 2017, the Indian government announced to bear up to 60% of the research and development (R&D) cost for developing the indigenous low-cost electric technology.
Planning for an entire makeover in the next 5-10 years is not a good idea for the automobile industry. Counting on the policy framework loopholes, Folger said that it takes years and years while innovating in automobile and “the least policymakers can do is to take the auto industry into confidence.”
Automobile companies invest a hefty amount of their revenue in cutting edge technology developments, and such a short-term goal without taking them into confidence will ideally stop them investing in new technologies.
“Our planners should know that over the next two decades or so the whole world will be driving hydrogen cars and not electric cars,” added Roland Folger.
Among the other loopholes in the government’s EV planning, Mercedes-Benz Chief said, “Can the government invest hundreds of billions of dollars into setting up charging stations and associated infrastructure? If not, then who will foot the bill? Definitely not the private sector. If at all government manages to raise funds, is it worth the effort in terms of meeting the key objective of bringing down pollution?”
It is worth noting that Reva, India’s first indigenous EV failed to compete with the other petroleum-fueled cars owing to the lack of charging stations in the country. What Mercedes-Benz Chief Roland Folger has said in his conversation with PTI seconds a newly-released white paper by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) which predicts that going all-EV might not be possible before 2047.