Establishing itself as a clean-tech leader . . .
India has expressed its ambition to become the “Detroit of electric vehicles,” a push that comes alongside Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent announcement that he fully intends India to have a 100% rate of adoption of electric cars by 2030. After his ambitious statement was heavily criticized by industry backers, however, Mr. Gadkari adjusted his forecast to 30% by 2030, with a specific focus on two-wheelers, which make up the majority of vehicles sold in India.
Roadblocks for electric vehicles . . .
The need is certainly there – India has some of the world’s most polluted cities. But the government’s ambitions have raised many questions around feasibility. The electric vehicles forecast was adjusted in large part for spurring fears of job losses in the traditional auto industry. And smaller and more developed nations such as the U.K. and France are only planning on phasing out their conventional-engine vehicles by 2040, with manufacturing and export implications for India. Relevant backers also cite funding and infrastructure gaps as major hurdles in achieving this ambitious new target. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman still maintains, however, that India would like to be a “global hub of manufacturing of electric vehicles.”
Tech aspirations not all moonshots . . .
Although India’s clean-tech ambitions may come as a surprise to many, they fall in line with some of the country’s other technological initiatives that may have seemed unrealistic in the past. The launch of the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon on Monday was a widespread success, barring a one-week delay. After the rocket’s planned arrival in early September, India will be the fourth country in history (after the U.S., Russia, and China) to ever land on the moon. India’s technological ambitions may not be that lofty after all.