Updated: May 30, 2019
Dear Political leaders:
I don’t know if you will read this or not, but I will write this letter considering that it will reach you and you will be able to read it.
A brief introduction about me before I start. I am, 19, a student at Delhi University who is passionate about Tesla or electric vehicles. I want all EVs to succeed. I want India to adopt EVs as soon as possible.
I recently wrote an open letter to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. I asked him to bring Tesla to India. I know that a big problem for EV adoption is on our part. I believe that we need to lay the groundwork for the EV revolution in India.
ROADS!!! Yes, roads are a nightmare in many places still. I have seen huge
improvements in roads and highways in the last few years and I am highly optimistic that our road infrastructure will be world class in few years. A place where it is not being enforced is in villages. Still broken village lanes are filled with dirty water. I hope GOI will look into this.
Second, our DANGEROUSLY HUGE Speed Breakers. I term them killers. They are located in places where there is no need. I don’t think any engineering or law is being involved while making them. There are laws for it, but they are not being taken into consideration. I know it’s a local government problem, but I would be happy if you could put some pressure on them to check this problem out. We need to change our infrastructure.
Now, why the above two things are important. The batteries in newly developed EVs are being placed at the bottom of vehicles. It gives them a lower center of mass and some other benefits. Being heavy, the vehicles ground clearance has to be decreased to provide more aerodynamic benefits and hence more range to the vehicle. I know protection is being put to avoid damages to them, but they will surely get damaged at some places and at our speed breakers. I hope some development to be made towards this.
We currently do not have a supply chain for EV parts here, they will need to be imported. I read in The India Times that there is zero import duty on various parts of EVs. I am very happy about that if it is so. It would be great if companies could assemble vehicles here. It is nice to know that GOI has reduced import duty on CKD units to 10-15%.
Kia and Hyundai are coming to India with good range EVs. Mahindra & Tata are also coming with EVs soon. I hope that they do not just put batteries in an ICE (Internal combustion engine) car. I hope that they redesign the vehicle. Tata has provided the government with some EVs but they are range 150km which in real life would be 100-120km. That’s not even close to comfortable. Right now Tesla has the best range of nearly 400-500km. Hyundai and Kia are also coming with EVs with comfortable ranges. As of now it is clear that we need foreign manufacturers and let the market decide.
What we need to do, is to remove import duty on import of CBU of EVs or decrease it significantly. Current import on CBU units is very high. EVs are already too costly due to batteries and technology. To have mass adoption it needs them to be as cost effective as possible. In either case we have to remove import duty. We also need to provide people with incentives on purchases of EVs. Either the government could provide direct incentives or indirect. How indirect? Let us see. Government can remove registration charges on vehicles. It could consider the price of EV ranges from 10-12%. It would be a great incentive too. Removing toll taxes from EVs or at least half the current for regular fuel vehicles would help as well.
We need to establish our charging infrastructure. In the world as of now only Tesla has the high speed charging network. They also have chargers known as destination chargers which are somewhat of a low speed charger. The new type of EV that other companies are bringing would be enough. Hotels, malls and parkings all need to establish charging points in their parkings. Tesla Superchargers, however, will be limited only to Tesla vehicles unless other companies bring EVs that can take higher charge and partner with them. State owned charging stations can be free.
I am seeing development in this area too. News of chargers being installed near metros in Delhi and Hyderabad too. Hyderabad is doing good in this area. Want to point out that the DC fast chargers that are being placed are of capacity 20-22kwh, which is low. I want them to put higher capacity charger so that they don’t have to spend again in future to upgrade them.