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India unveils national electric vehicle plan

India unveils national electric vehicle plan
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh reviewed some of the electric vehicles at the launch of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, in New Delhi on January 09, 2013. (Photo from Prime Ministers office)

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has unveiled a national electric vehicle plan to boost consumer adoption and domestic production of electric and hybrid electric vehicles across the country.

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 lays the vision, sets the target and provides the roadmap for achieving significant penetration of efficient and environmentally-friendly electric vehicles technologies in India by 2020.

“This is a very important milestone in our country’s efforts for a cleaner and greener transport system for the future,” said Mr. Singh during the launch of the plan.

Part of the plan would be a total investment of over 23,000 crores ($4.1 billion) worth of funds co-contributed by the government and the automotive industry (see related story).

The plan sets a target of six to seven million new E.V.s on the road over the next seven years. This will subsequently deliver fuel savings of 2.2 to 2.5 million tons and reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 to 1.5 percent.

Electric vehicles “have the potential of contributing substantially to our efforts for mitigating the adverse impacts of economic development on the environment,” noted Mr. Singh.

In addition, they can help India cut its transport sector’s significant dependence on oil.

Currently, more than 80 percent of the country’s demand for petroleum products is being imported and this is set to increase over the coming years. High international oil prices notably add to the India’s import bills and trade deficit, causing a big strain on the country’s economy.

While significant barriers toward widespread adoption of E.V.s still exist, P.M. Singh suggested establishing an “ecosystem” that will enable further expansion of these technologies. Thus, the new E.V. plan also includes research and development, charging station networks, financing unit for consumers and incentives scheme for companies.

“[The N.E.M.M.P. 2020] gives me confidence to believe that the automotive industry, which has been at the forefront of Indian manufacturing, will be able to fully realize the potential that exists in our country for the new technologies to flourish,” concluded Mr. Singh. – C. Dominguez

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