In 2030, The Only Cars Sold In India Will Be Electric

Looking at the gas guzzlers that fill the roads today, the idea of making every car electric may seem like a distant pipe dream. But to leaders in India, it not only seems feasible, but it's a goal whose wheels are already in motion. If all goes according to plan, every new car purchased in 2030 and onward will be run solely on electric power. For a country with the world's second largest population, this could have a huge impact on the world.

The Driving Force

Electric cars in India today are quite rare: at the end of 2015, there were 6,000 electric cars in a country with an estimated population of 1.26 billion. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is leading the team of officials tasked with figuring out the gritty details of the move to electric transportation. The goal isn't to have every car on the road be electric by 2030. Instead, their hope is to eliminate the sale of gas-powered cars by ensuring that every new car sold will run on electric power starting in 2030.

Although you might assume that the motivation for the move is to curb climate change, the reasons are actually much more local and immediate. It comes down to economics, for one thing: it's predicted to cut the cost of importing fuel, since India is third in oil-import spending behind the U.S. and China. It should also make powering cars more affordable for both the state and its citizens. But what is most startling is this motivator: 1.2 million Indians die annually from complications caused by air pollution, according to Greenpeace. Although the plan won't eliminate this problem, reducing the harmful emissions of gas-powered cars will certainly help.

Related: Electric Cars Are So Quiet, They're Required By Law To Make Fake Noise

Putting The Pedal To The Metal

Here's how the plan will work: consumers will reportedly have the option to receive an electric vehicle without any upfront payment and pay it off little by little with money that would have otherwise gone towards filling the tank. This is similar to the way the Indian government encouraged the adoption of LED bulbs, although that plan has its critics. The government is also supporting electric car production with the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India Scheme. The idea is that by encouraging a replacement marketplace, electronic vehicles will be far more prevalent and accessible than they are today.

By incentivizing electric cars now by lowering taxes and minimizing duties, India hopes it can start the trend early and see how the market responds as 2030 approaches. By making it clear that no gas-powered cars can be sold in the country beginning in 2030, the move could encourage automakers to get on board early while the market is fresh and developing.

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Written by Mike Epifani May 16, 2017

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