In an indication that mass adoption of electric vehicles in India is still some years away, a shareholder of Mahindra and Mahindra – country’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer by quite a margin – asked managing director Pawan Goenka when the company will venture into or launch electric vehicles.
This incident left Goenka – one of the veterans in the Indian automobile industry- dismayed as Mahindra has been the pioneer in developing electric vehicles in Indian.
“In Mahindra AGM our shareholders asked us when are we getting into EVs. If after producing and selling EVs for 9 yrs, after having 5000 eCars on the INDIAN roads, after 135 M eMiles behind us if our share holders don’t know that we make EVs, we have failed in our communication,” tweeted Pawan Goenka a day after the annual general meeting in Mumbai.
Mahindra has been leading the electric vehicle evolution in India and is expected to launch electric variant of two of its popular products – KUV100 and XUV 300. The company will also launch a third product in collaboration with Ford Motor Company.
Apart from the the electric sedan E-verito, Mahindra has also launched its new electric three wheeler Treo and have partnered with start ups like Smart E to supply its eco-friendly vehicles.
None of the automakers in India have such diversified products in the electric space as of now.
Mahindra has also set up a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Maharashtra with South Korea’s LG Chen. The company has also invested more than ₹1000 crore on setting up a capacity to develop and manufacturer electric powertrains in Karnataka which will be supplied to other automakers in closing subsidiary Ssangyong Motor Co.
The union government has been trying to encourage adoption of electric mobility through a number of policy initiatives as it wants to curb crude imports and high level of pollution in Indian cities.
Pushing ahead with its goal to have more electric vehicles to curb rampant pollution afflicting major cities and trim costly oil imports, the government has, from 1 April 2019, started the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME 2) scheme, with an outlay of ₹10,000 crore. Although this sum may not be significant compared to some developed countries, the incentives announced in the budget for this sector will go a long way in restoring the confidence of investors and customers alike.
In her maiden budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced income tax rebates of up to ₹1.5 lakh to customers on interest paid on loans to buy electric vehicles, with a total exemption benefit of ₹2.5 lakh over the entire loan period. The minister also announced customs duty exemption on lithium–ion cells, which will help lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries in India as they are not produced locally. Makers of components such as solar electric charging infrastructure and lithium storage batteries and other components will be offered investment linked income tax exemptions under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act, and other indirect tax benefits.