Transportation minister Nitin Gadkari made an announcement recently that India will switch completely to electric vehicles by 2030. Bold indeed! The earlier initiative from 2015 called Faster Adoption and Manufacture of (Hybrid and) Electric vehicles (FLAME) seems to have failed to take off. But Mr. Gadkari said this time he will just bulldoze his way through. Considering that India imports over 80% of its crude oil at a cost of over $80 billion, and air pollution is now blamed for over 1 million premature deaths per year, this transformation would be a giant step towards energy security and air quality improvements of unprecedented levels.
While the United States saw an increase in the sale of bigger vehicles due to the drop in crude oil prices over the last few years, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government chose to keep petrol and diesel prices the same or even slightly higher during these cheap crude oil years. The additional revenues have largely gone to reducing the fuel-subsidies and to deal with the slowdown in economic growth. The brave initiative to switch completely to electric vehicles will obviously face many social and political challenges. All climate actions that require disruptive socio-technical transitions will face hurdles, some expected and some unexpected. The expected resistance will come from established industries and institutions that stand to lose, and the entrenched behavioral patterns of citizens whose pocketbooks or ways of life get hit by these transitions. Read More…
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