The government is setting up a new body, with a corpus of up to Rs 200 Crore that will help companies develop environment-friendly technologies for hybrid and electric vehicles, joint secretary at ministry of heavy industries said.
The National Electric Mobility Mission will try to promote eco-friendly technologies as an alternative to use of non-renewable fuels such as petrol and diesel that dominate the Indian car and two-wheeler market. This will also help control air pollution in the country.
EVs offer lower running cost and maintenance, but have failed to find buyers despite various tax benefits due to higher product prices and other factors influencing their cost of ownership. “There are several players in India making different kind of electric vehicles, but lack of infrastructure to charge these vehicles and the high-price of hybrid cars has prevented growth,” said Ambuj Sharma, joint-secretary, ministry of heavy industries.
Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles has managed to sell only a few hundred electric cars in India so far. The cost of electric cars and hybrids are almost double that of petrol vehicles due to expensive battery and intricate technology.
Global car makers like Toyota and Honda had launched their hybrids in India, but could barely sell few hundred units due to the high prices. This is despite the high demand with sales of cars shooting up 34 per cent during April-August 2010 over the year ago period on the back of improved consumer sentiment due to buoyant economic growth.
The new body will help electric vehicle makers to develop technology to lower the cost of batteries, which comprises a third of the total product price. National Electric Mobility Mission will have representatives of various ministries to promote fuel efficient vehicles with low cost technology.
There is cess on automobiles and funding from various schemes like the urban development mission could be utilised to fund the programme, Mr Sharma said.