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Transition of automobiles towards electric mobility inevitable: NITI Aayog CEO

The transition of automobiles towards electric mobility is inevitable and it is for the auto industry to make the change and drive it to make India a global leader in electric vehicles (EVs), NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the annual convention of the auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Kant said in the next two years, the cost of batteries will fall even further, thereby bringing down the upfront cost of acquisition for consumers.

“At NITI Aayog, we are taking all measures to boost innovation, efficiency and investments in the automobile sector, especially to bring down the initial upfront cost of EVs to the consumers. I am stressing on EVs because I’m a strong believer and a firm believer that this transition is inevitable,” he asserted.

He further said, “We are a centre for compact car manufacturing. If we do not innovate, and if we do not make a radical transformation, we will lose this opportunity to become a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing.”

With global battery costs declining much faster than anticipated, EV economics have become favourable as battery costs decline, he added.

In the next two years, Kant said the cost of batteries will fall even further.

“The writing is on the wall, and it’s for the industry to make the inevitable change and drive it, and lead it, and make India a leader in the transition of mobility across the world,” he said.

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The country has the potential to be the “champion” of two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers and long-distance transport, including commercial vehicles with the new technology of the future, he said.

Kant asked automobile manufacturers to expand investments in research and development to support electric mobility, which includes vehicle systems integration, motors and controls, power electronics, and charging infrastructure.

Stating that India is a highly price sensitive market and Indians consumers are cost conscious, Kant said innovative business options such as battery swapping and leasing will reduce the upfront cost of batteries.

Also, he said India has immense potential to be a battery manufacturing leader.

“Despite the fact that we do not have nickel, cobalt and lithium, we can add up to 81 per cent of value of batteries in India,” Kant said, adding the government has also restructured the FAME II scheme to make it even favourable for electric two-wheeler consumers by reducing the upfront cost.

Leading two-wheeler manufacturers have reported a four-fold increase in sales, in the past three years in India around 5.17 lakh EVs have been registered in the market, Kant said.

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