Govt to launch indigenously developed electric 2-W, car and CV platforms within two years

by Sumantra B Barooah & Shourya Harwani 05 Nov 2015

In line with its thrust on popularising electric/hybrid mobility in the country, the government is indigenously developing a host of electric vehicle platforms ranging from two-wheelers, small cars to commercial vehicles and plans to launch fully operational EVs within the next two years.

Speaking to Autocar Professional, Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary, Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, government of India, said that with investments of nearly Rs 1,600 crore and involvement from major OEMs, the government will showcase its first prototypes in around 18 months, with commercial production of the new platforms likely to start in 24 months.

“We have involved all the major OEMs. On the bus platform we have Tata, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra, Eicher all on board. Their technical know-how, R&D facilities, along with centres of excellence and some IITs are coming together on the project. We are putting in government money for R&D. Since all OEMs are on board and they are deeply involved in the process, each of them would build their own prototypes and would be allowed to brand individually, but the platform specs and components would all be common,” explained Sharma.

The development of the new platforms is a part of the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles scheme, but instead of just providing incentives to OEMs, the government has now itself picked up the baton of manufacturing EV platforms in India.

Explaining the need for faster adoption of EVs in the two-wheeler, small cars and CV space Sharma said: “In the Indian transport scenario these three are the major focus areas. One-fourth of our auto sales are two-wheelers, so our initial focus was on providing viable electric two-wheelers and most of the present electric two-wheelers were using only imported Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean parts and our primary concern was to find an Indian solution for that.”

“We also found that most of the foreign OEMs which are leaders in the EV space do not make small electric cars keeping India in mind. They are way too premium. No OEMs were actually looking into this hence we started to focus on it.”

“The third focus area is public transportation. With public transport largely being managed by state governments, lots of efficiencies can be brought in there. It is a major people mover and most of the fossil fuel spent is on public transport, hence electrification there would have a much higher scale of benefit and would directly result in a cleaner environment as well.”

The FAME scheme is now extended to all parts of the country, and sales of electric vehicles are also picking up. With its new indigenously developed platforms the government envisions a cleaner and more efficient transport environment in the country and given the fact that most major Indian OEMs are already on board, affordable and efficient electric vehicles in India can be a reality in the next two years.