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Electric Vehicles still distant dream for India, says Mercedez Benz

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Mercedes Benz is ready to make India’s ambitious dream of having Electric Vehicles (EV) by 2030 if only government provide adequate support and details. The company has plans in place but have lot of questions seeking details from the government as there is lot of assumption in the market.

“What will happen to CVU vehicles? What will be the local suppliers of the batteries? What is going to happen with old batteries? Is that going to be responsibilities of suppliers?”, said Chairman and CEO of Mercedes Benz India, Roland Forger to ETtech in an interview.

We are waiting for government details, he added.

Earlier in June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said that he is in talks with the government of India regarding temporary relief on import restrictions until a local factory is built in the country.

Musk had at the time responded positively to a tweet from Anand Mahindra, who prodded him to bring his electric cars to this country, but had indicated that Tesla needs support to commence sales in India.

In April, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said that the government was looking at having an all electric car fleet by 2030 with an objective of lowering fuel import bill and running cost of vehicles.

Niti Aayog has also reportedly proposed giving both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and subsidies to push sales of electric vehicles while discouraging the use of petrol and diesel-run vehicles.

India did sell around 25,000 electric cars and bikes in 2016-17, of which just 2,000 were cars, according to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles. In comparison, India sold nearly 60,000 two-wheelers every day in 2016-17, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Mercedes India also said if the government gives adequate support, electric vehicles would be here by 2020.

At present in India 65% of electric energy is produced through fossil fuels. These are produced in factories, who don’t have cleansing mechanism. Therefore diesel fuel will produce less pollution than an electric vehicle, Forger said.

He also raised concerned on electricity and energy producing industry in India whether they can keep up with improvement in automotive business.

Mercedes Benz would need a ramp-up period when the government would extend its incentives to EVs that are not manufactured locally. Until there is a green signal, it would not be feasible to open up a factory.

The government is yet to come up with the final draft of its all-electric plan.


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