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Letter to Political Leaders of India on EV/Solar

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.

All govt work place should have chargers. And it should be made mandatory for private offices to establish the charging points in their parkings.

Now home charging can be done by people who have their own home. But what about those who live in apartments? Well they park in streets. So what state utilities can do is that they can convert the electric polls to charging point very easily. And the new flat apartments that are being built, it should me made mandatory by govt that builder should have charging points in parkings for apartments.

One thing people say is from where we will meet the energy demand for this. Well this issue need to be resolved. Govt should encourage people to get solar. You really need to advertise the Solar roof top scheme. Govt should get solar on every govt building. And to increase energy output, policies need to be made.

Govt need to STOP SUBSIDISING THE COAL, OIL AND GAS INDUSTRIES. Instead subsidies renewable. Ask the utility companies to get their infrastructure right.

A breakdown of what I think needs to be done to bring clean energy to India:

1. Removing/reducing import on Completely Built Vehicle ( CBU ) units of EV.

2. Establishing charging infrastructure with help from companies like Tesla, Mahindra, Tata and state owned power companies and hotels and parking owners. It must be done at a rapid speed.

3. Banning registration of Petrol/Diesel/CNG auto rickshaws right now. Allow electric auto’s only now.

4. Asking motorbike companies to go electric as soon as possible. A bike with 150-200km range would be enough. Because people mostly use them to go to the office companies could set up charging stations at work places. Bikes are more plentiful and I think can soon be replaced with electric provided there are some incentives to the buyer. Every government in the world provides incentives.

Also, I am seeing a boost in solar plant set ups. With India aiming for 80GW by 2020!! Wow. I would be really happy to see that happen. I am hoping it will not be delayed. One thing is people don’t know about the government’s Solar Roof Top scheme. I was unaware until a few months ago. I have never seen any advertisements or announcements from the government about it. We need to tell people its benefits. Tell them that they can reduce their carbon footprint. Tell them that they can help india. Tell them that they can reduce their bill. Tell them that they can also sell excess energy to the grid which will help and earn them some money. There are words about some monthly rebates on electricity bill , but I haven’t seen that about Roof Top scheme. I may be wrong here.

One thing also needs to be told to the people is about benefits of EVs:

1. Silent. No motors sounds.

2. Can be kept for at least 3 times longer than current vehicle. Batteries can be recycled so in that way reducing their overall cost even though initially it will be higher.

3. The service cost of EVs is very low because there are very few moving parts. All that is needed is usual service required like tires and wipers and some regular checkups. Therefore further saving on the vehicle.

4. Electricity eventually costs less than the fuel; further savings. Also further saving by some free charging stations on highways.

The benefit of having these is that people can spend more on vehicles with more range. The type of EV Maruti, Tata are bringing, I don’t think it will be a solid one because as per reports they have very low kw battery which is not going to work. Companies should build solid EV and convince people about its benefits. Government has to play a major part.

A recent news that govt will take bids on 4 battery manufacturing plants of 10GW each. This got me excited. Appreciate this step.

I also want the Government to give Tesla a place to have its Gigafactory. Tesla has car unit and Solar unit and battery unit that can store solar energy. They are very good at the technology & they are the foundation that India needs. Remove all restrictions from them, please. Just remove restrictions on any company trying to setup an EV factory.

Yes, the above things will cost money. Let it cost. It will pay for itself back in the future. I know officials are working on it. I surely have some suggestions. I don’t know if the government will read this or not. I hope so. I recently heard that BHEL is thinking about setting charging stations on Delhi-Chandigarh highway. I don’t know which type they will be putting up but I would recommend CCS Type 2.

I hope that the government will take some firm actions.

Thank you,

Nikhil Chaudhary

Tesla Club India

Building a Community for the Future

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