Unlike a predominant chunk of countries falling in the European Union as well as nations like the UK that have set an aggressive target for their new car sales to go all-electric by as early as 2030, India is likely to see a significant portion of its passenger vehicle parc continue to be powered by internal-combustion engines (ICE) in the coming future.
According to Arun Goel, secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, “ICE vehicles in India will co-exist with various electrified and greener fuel technologies powering cars at least for the next 20 years.” Goel made these remarks while participating in a panel discussion at the 62nd SIAM Annual Convention that was held in New Delhi.
The COP26 event held last year in Glasgow saw many countries pledging for sustainability and promising definitive actions to combat climate change. Nations like Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway joined the declaration to work towards making new car sales in their respective markets to go emission-free by 2040, and no later than 2035 in leading markets. Furthermore, carmakers such as Audi AG too have outlined their global plans of going all-electric. The German luxury carmaker, for instance, is slated to only sell electric cars after 2030.
However, Goel mentioned that despite the expected long-term sustenance of conventionally-powered cars in the country, the industry must simultaneously move towards technologies which will be the growth drivers in the future. “We have to do continuous research, product development and attain large-scale manufacturing for emerging propulsion technologies,” he said.
Taking to advanced automotive technologies, including high-end sensors, digital cockpits and infotainment systems, Goel further said that such technologies today only comprise about 3 percent of the country’s total passenger vehicles on sale, whereas they average about 18 percent globally, and are slated to grow to 30 percent by 2030. “We have to shift to adopting a higher-value, higher-technology approach as well,” Goel remarked.
With its low car penetration levels of 30 cars per thousand people, India’s situation is quite unique on the global map wherein the country needs to offer affordable mobility solutions to its large population. Therefore, the transition to zero-emission vehicles could take longer than the West.
According to Shradha Suri Marwah, vice president, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India or ACMA, “The Indian passenger vehicle market is poised to double in size and grow to become a 7-million-unit market by 2030. So, there will still be a large chunk of our population that would continue to buy conventionally-powered vehicles, perhaps those running on CNG, flex-fuel or biofuels.”
“We should use this transition time to not just localise our products but our designing as well,” Marwah had remarked at SIAM’s counterpart body ACMA’s 62 Annual Convention held in New Delhi a day prior on September 14.