Countless debates and actions on the need for faster adoption of environment-friendly cars seem to have bore fruit. According to the data from industry body Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), sales of electric vehicles in the financial year (FY) ended March 31, 2016, rose 37.5 percent to 22,000 units from 16,000 in FY 2014-15.
This is the first time an increase in sales has been registered in the past four years, however, the result is far away from the Central government's target of putting five to six million electric vehicles on roads by 2020, ET Auto reported. Among the 22,000 units sold, 20,000 units were electric two-wheelers and 2000 units four wheelers.
"We are quite delighted at the growing number, which reflects increased awareness among commuters and the fact that people are seeing a good value proposition in EVs," said Sohinder Gill, director corporate affairs, SMEV, in a statement.
To promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government in April 2015 launched the FAME India scheme, offering incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs. 29,000 for bikes and Rs. 1.38 lakh for cars. This scheme is widely considered as the prime reason for surge in sales of EVs.
The current sales number shows that despite supporting steps from the government, reaching a target of five-six million electric vehicles on road as part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) will not be an easy task. Lack of basic infrastructure facilities, like charging stations, and difficulties in availing bank loans for purchase of EVs have been cited as major bottlenecks. In addition to this, most of the electric vehicles cover a short-range distance after a full charge. Not providing a medium-range distance in one recharge is also a major restraint in the adoption of full electric vehicles.
Technology is available today to set up a charging station at around Rs. 30,000. "We can easily set up 1,000 charging stations in a span of three months. The only thing we need is the government's support to create a wide and accessible network of charging stations at every convenient point - be it our local market or city roads," said Gill.