The government plans to launch an electric vehicle procurement scheme to push cleaner transport in the country, said a senior official who is marshalling the country's move away from fossil fuel-powered automobiles.
The government plans to buy 10,000 electric buses over the next 15 months, and 50,000 three-wheelers by November, said Ashok Jhunjhunwala, principal adviser at the Ministry of Power and New and Renewable Energy, at the annual convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers in New Delhi.
The move stems from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aim of turn India’s auto industry all-electric by 2030. A task force of ministers has been set up to ensure the transition in an attempt to cut oil imports and curb pollution. Electric vehicles are taxed at 12 percent under India's new Goods and Services Tax regime. Other cars are taxed at a base 28 percent rate with an additional cess depending on the size and engine capacity.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. hopped on to the opportunity by launching the e-Alfa Mini, an electric three-wheeler rickshaw, at Rs 1.12 lakh on Friday. The five-seater can travel up to 85 kilometres on a full charge and hits a top speed of 25 kmph.
Stocks of electric vehicle makers jumped following Jhunjhunwala's announcement. Electric three-wheeler maker OK Play India Ltd. rose as much as 17 percent, while electric bus manufacturer JBM Auto Ltd. gained 6.7 percent. JSW Energy Ltd., which plans to launch its first electric car by 2020, jumped 10 percent. Battery maker Exide Industries Ltd. jumped 6 percent.
That compares wit ha 0.5 percent decline in the S&P BSE Auto Index.