Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of State for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy, says his country is working on a plan to make every car in the country an electric vehicle by 2030. “We have created a working group under the leadership of road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, who is good at coming up with large scale programs. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and I are members of this group. We will meet in the first week of April to see if India can 100% be on electric vehicles by 2030,” Goyal said at the Conference on Young Indians organized by industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry on March 26.

India new cars

Under the plan, the vehicles will be given without an upfront payment and will be paid for by users over a period of time from the savings made on fuel, he added. The idea is inspired by the success of the government’s campaign to promote energy-efficient LED bulbs, which has seen costs falling by 80% over 18 months. Power utilities distribute these bulbs and consumers pay for them over a period of time from the savings in their power bills.

The plan has the approval of the automobile industry. “It is a great, workable model. Promoting electric or hybrid cars through innovative schemes can reduce vehicular pollution, reduce fossil fuel dependence and will be beneficial for the consumer. We will work with the government on this,” said Vishnu Mathur, director general of industry lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). India’s automobile industry is the sixth-largest in the world and accounts for 22% of the country’s total manufacturing output.

Goyal said the idea is to make the program entirely self-financing without any assistance from the government. “We do not need even one paisa from the government or the people. We will see if we can give electric cars for free and monetize the savings you can have (from not using fossil fuels) and pay for the vehicles,” he said.

“We have not yet decided who will manufacture these vehicles and where. We are thinking of scale and of leading the world rather than following the world. India will be the first country to think on such a scale,” said Goyal. Mathur said that achieving scale can help in promoting localization of cutting-edge components as well as local development of technology.

Bear in mind that these cars are likely to be bare bones basic transportation as opposed to the fully optioned transportation cocoons Americans are used to. But just think how this model could have ramifications for nations around the globe who are determined to lower their carbon emissions.

This announcement comes shortly after Important Media president Zachary Shahan made a presentation in Mumbai (last month) at a conference that focused on disruptive technology. Piyush Goyal was also present at that conference. Perhaps Zachary’s words and ideas had some influence on Goyal? We would like to think so. You can view Zachary’s entire presentation in the YouTube video below.

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