Motorcyclists ride past the newly-launched Tata Motors Ltd. Starbus Hybrid bus at the company’s commercial vehicle manufacturing unit in Pune, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Says No Electric Vehicle Policy Needed, Will Frame Action Plan

India doesn’t see the need for any explicit policy on electric vehicles even as automakers want the government to come out with a clear roadmap to achieve its target to turn all vehicles electric by 2030.

There is no need for an electric vehicles policy for India, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said at a press conference in New Delhi. He didn’t offer any other comments.

Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of NITI Aayog explained why. “Day-to-day technological innovations are taking place in the automobile sector. We are making an action plan on electric vehicles which will be given to all ministries and we will monitor it,” he said. “We don’t require a policy on it as such.”

Kant was speaking after the inauguration of two charging stations at NITI Aayog, the coordinating agency for electric mobility. “Technology is ahead of rules and regulations. We cannot bind it. The government will take a final call on whether a policy is required or not.”

The government aims to turn all cars electric in less than a decade and a half to cut emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, one of the biggest contributors to the nation’s import bill. Automakers are hesitant to introduce electric vehicles until the government frames a clear policy on electric vehicles.

The move to not have a policy got a thumbs up from RC Bhargava, chairman of India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “In India, we need action rather than things written on paper, because policy is all paper,” Bhargava told BloombergQuint. “More important would be an action plan and an action plan which is implemented”.

Bhargava added that any plan to speed up electric vehicle adoption in India should be dynamic and must evolve to keep pace with the technological developments in the automotive space.

The government hasn’t yet come out with a clear policy on electric mobility, Roland Folger, managing director and chief executive officer of Mercedes Benz in India, had earlier told BloombergQuint. “There is a question about where the energy for an electric vehicle push will come from.”