Electric cars to get sops in India?
World over the focus is shifting to electric cars – be it the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Volt or other hybrids almost every carmaker across the world is developing newer models for the future. The Indian government doesn’t want to be left behind and it seems it is working on a policy to boost manufacturing of hybrid cars in India. The government is likely to do this by giving some excise duty concessions.
Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel is likely to spearhead the process. The government is likely to use fiscal sops like differential excise to boost research and development on hybrid vehicles. The Department of Heavy Industry would need the Cabinet approval for the formation of a high-level panel on the issue. If all goes as per plan there will be a policy by September.At present India has Reva the India based electric car maker and also the Toyota Prius. But the cars are expensive and unaffordable. The Hybrid cars run on both battery power and conventional fuels and cars like the Prius are imported in India and thus it take the price of the car through the roof. The Toyota Prius Hybrid is priced at over Rs 25 lakh and Honda Civic hybrid launced in 2008 came with a price tag of Rs 21.5 lakh which was brought down to Rs 13.36 lakh. Even then the sales did not take off and the model had to be discontinued.
So now the government’s emphasis will be on how to bring the price down and make this technology affordable to a larger number of people. But that is not where the government’s responsibilities end. The country does not have adequate infrastructure to support chargeable cars. There needs to be proper infrastructure in place for these models to succeed.