NITI Aayog's Anil Srivastava: ‘Covid19 impact should be seen as an opportunity for push towards EVs.’

by Shahkar Abidi 06 Jun 2020

Government think-tank NITI Aayog has been at the forefront of the Indian government's ambitious push toward vehicle electrification in the country. While mass electric mobility still remains a pipedream, the low-hanging fruit for e-mobility will always be the ubiquitous two-wheeler. So it was not surrprising when Anil Srivastava, Adviser (Transport) and DG, DMEO at NITI Aayog, said, "After 2020 and till 2025, expect 80 percent-plus two-wheeler EV adoption growth in India. Industry has seen a good pace of growth."

Srivastava was one of the panelists at the Autocar Professional webinar, ‘EVs: Pain or Gain Ahead?’ held on June 5, World Environment Day. The webinar, which also featured other eminent industry stakeholders, touched upon all the key issues specific to the EV eco-system and the industry prospects in the post-Covid scenario as social distancing becomes the new normal.

The other panelists at the webinar were: 
- Mahesh Babu, MD and CEO, Mahindra Electric and Chairman, Electric Mobility Group, SIAM
- Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO of Kinetic Green
- Sohinder Singh Gill, Director General, SMEV and CEO of Hero Electric
- Nishant Arya, Executive Director, JBM Group

According to a recent EV industry study by Bloomberg NEF, globally, passenger EV sales jumped from 450,000 units in 2015 to 2.1 million in 2019.  However, the numbers are expected to drop in 2020 before continuing to rise as battery prices fall, energy density improves, more charging infrastructure is built, and sales spread to new markets. 

Srivastava cited the latest Bloomberg NEF outlook report which says that “the adoption of electric vehicles will be much faster in Europe, US, China and many other nations in comparison to India.” He explained that though Covid-19 will delay some of these, by 2022 there are expected to  be over 500 different EV models available globally. 

Srivastava, who has held key leadership positions across sectors including aviation and electric mobility, added that while Covid-19 has come as  a severe blow to the entire automotive industry, its impact on EVs will be much lesser.  Referring to the latest available data, he pointed out that the number of EVs sold between March and May 2020 constitute nearly 20 percent of the total sales registered last year (156,000). According to Srivastava, "The situation should be seen from the perspective of an opportunity."

Is modification of FAME II a necessity?
Srivasatava believes that the three-year period of FAME II is adequate for its implementation, provided the Ministry of Heavy Industries, which is executing the project, gets the budgetary allocation required for its implementation. 

When asked for his opinion whether there could be modifications to the FAME-II guidelines, Srivastava offered his personal opinion, reiterating that there is strong demand for FAME on the supply side and any changes can be brought only if a need is felt in that direction.


Tags: Niti Aayog