There was a lot expected from the Interim Union Budget 2019, especially for the automotive sector and we were glued to our television sets to get more details. While the pre-budget sentiments were very positive, there was more that was expected. In fact, it was just yesterday that Kerala's budget showed a strong inkling towards electric vehicles and the state has set the target of having more than a million electric vehicles by 2022. So, there was a lot of anticipation already and yes the Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal mentioned how important electric vehicles are to the countries growth. In his speech he said, "Making India a pollution free nation with green Mother Earth and blue skies is the Third Dimension of our Vision. This India will drive on Electric Vehicles with Renewables becoming a major source of energy supply. India will lead the world in the transport revolution through electric vehicles and energy storage devices, bringing down import dependence and ensuring energy security for our people."
Sadly there was a little more that the Industry was anticipating. The automotive industry has been positive when it comes to acceptance of electric cars in India. In fact Sohinder Gill, Director General- Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) said, "The government's focus on the use of clean energy in the transportation sector would certainly help our country tackle the issue of climate change. EV industry welcomes our Hon'ble Finance Minister's commitment towards making the country pollution free, in his budget speech 2019-2020."
Also Read: Kerala Sets EV Road Map For 2022
However, the industry still seeks a concrete plan for electric cars as it enters the end of decade. Gill said, "We hope the government would soon announce a concrete plan of action with its time-bound implementation in order to fulfil its stated vision. Since no substantial schemes were announced on electric vehicles in the budget, we expect that the government would announce specific action plans to reach the 1st one million electric vehicles on the road by 2021."
Sunil Gupta, MD and CEO, Avis India too echoed these sentiments saying, "The Budget was largely silent on concrete incentives for EVs but we hope that in the next FAME policy, the Government will spell out incentives for all stakeholders in the EV ecosystem - manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers and operators."
Most of the improvements suggested by the industry included promoting the manufacture and use of electric vehicles, reducing the carbon footprint of transportation, air pollution and crude imports.
Shekar Viswanathan, Vice Chairman & Whole-time Director - Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, "We applaud the Government of India's focus on EV drive towards reducing fuel import. The vehicle emission based tax regime would boost this EV vision, towards achieving a cleaner and greener environment."
Parveen Kharb, CEO and Co-Founder, Twenty Two Motors, stressed on the fact that the budget focused on making India pollution free. "However, the import duty reduction on electric vehicle components will further reinforce this and lead to wider acceptance of electric vehicles however some SOPs for Li batteries could fast track the move."
Ayush Lohia, CEO Lohia Auto Industries too spoke about a bigger push for the EV policy. He said, "Considering the environment concerns we were hoping for something concrete in the 2019 budget. Moreover to meet the target of 2030 the government needs to plan today instead of giving the electric vehicles a push at a later stage."