EVs can and should wait: Govt must focus on automotive sector revival and alternative fuels

As the auto sector struggles to get better its tempo, the federal government must take into account going sluggish on its EV deadlines and ponder leveraging alternative cleaner gaseous fuels corresponding to auto LPG.

Updated: Sep 11, 2020 12:51 PM

Even earlier than the coronavirus outbreak led to a full-blown monetary disaster, the Indian automotive business had been combating headwinds from the bigger financial slowdown. By August final 12 months itself, the sector had contracted for the tenth successive month with gross sales sliding by 40%, the sharpest drop in 20 years. Now with the COVID-driven downturn, car manufacturing is more likely to shrink by 8.3% in 2020 with losses pegged at a whopping Rs 13,000 crore. Around one million jobs may very well be misplaced, far worse than final 12 months.

Leading auto elements producer Bosch acknowledged that the COVID-19 disaster threatens to set the already-bleeding sector’s turnaround hopes by as much as six years. Meanwhile, India additionally shifted to BS-VI gasoline requirements, leaving car makers with the issue of unsold stock.

At this juncture, trying to pressure the tempo on Electric Vehicles, a comparatively new expertise with a protracted gestation interval, doesn’t sound like a fantastic proposition. Pushing the auto sector to spend money on new expertise at a time of financial misery would possibly spell doom for a lot of OEMs.

The monetary and logistical challenges because of the shift from BS-IV to BS-VI had already been daunting sufficient. Now to even obtain a 30% migration (diluted from earlier 100%) to electrical mobility by 2030 requires huge funding into manufacturing traces by the OEMs as additionally the establishing of colossal charging infrastructure.

As the auto sector struggles to get better its tempo, the federal government must take into account going sluggish on its EV deadlines and ponder leveraging alternative cleaner gaseous fuels corresponding to auto LPG for an environmental clean-up. Rather than persisting with the coverage push on EVs that are nonetheless – not less than – a decade away, these cost-effective, easy-to-transition choices can be deployed within the fast time period. This would additionally give an impetus to the already stumbling car sector.

Auto LPG transition, the fast antidote

According to the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), LPG has a worldwide warming potential (GWP) issue of zero, as in comparison with CO2’s 1 and methane’s 25. Two of essentially the most damaging brokers impacting human well being – NOx and PM with main origins in vehicular air pollution – have near-zero emissions from auto LPG.

In an estimate, a mere doubling of autogas autos would cut back international NOx emissions by 4% and PM 2.5 launch by 5% other than a powerful 130 Mt discount in CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheels (WTW) foundation – inside the subsequent 20 years itself. This would translate into an enormous socio-economic and environmental profit value $ 59 billion.

Auto LPG which is already the third extensively used automotive gasoline globally can subsequently play a viable bridging position till EVs can grow to be a actuality. It will assist convey substantive advantages to the setting, will probably be simple on client pocket at a time of hovering petrol costs and additionally enable the automotive sector sufficient leeway to get better.

Paving the way in which for Autogas & alternative fuels by way of coverage

Due to a extremely assured and considerable international provide, an inherently low value as in comparison with petrol and diesel, sensible nature of transition and sheer variety of autos accessible within the nation, India may grow to be the following autogas hub on this planet, à la South Korea or Turkey. The authorities wants to understand the advantages of this “low hanging fruit” in its struggle to enhance air high quality.

Incentivising each prospects in addition to suppliers for this transition is the pure first step. For the end-users to transform their present autos to LPG, along with tax breaks and subsidies, a GST discount for each auto LPG (presently 18%) and LPG conversion kits (presently 28%) could be a much-needed respite.

Then Type Approval norms regulating conversion to gaseous fuels must even be made perpetual in alignment with international/European norms as an alternative of the tedious want for approval each three years. The exorbitantly excessive nature of this conversion has been positively deflating for the retro-fitment market. This must be addressed forthwith.

Finally, selling a basket of alternative fuels together with Auto LPG, CNG and ethanol, somewhat than a singular push on EVs offers the end-user a wider selection of fresh fuels to choose from. A sequence of surveys and on-line polls had already steered final 12 months that prospects weren’t prepared for electrical autos as but.

The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-2) coverage additionally stands being extraordinarily susceptible within the face of the coronavirus disaster. In such circumstances, transitioning of private autos from petrol/diesel to Auto LPG can assist the nation meet its environmental commitments whereas leaving room for the car sector to thrive and develop whereas we watch for the sluggish unfolding of the period of the electrical car.

Author: Suyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the unique creator. These views and opinions don’t signify these of The Indian Express Group or its staff.

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