The centre has approved a Rs23,000-crore plan to boost the production of electric and hybrid vehicle over the next eight years.
According to media reports quoting Reuters, the central government has set itself a target of 6 million vehicles, of which 4 to 5 million are expected to be two-wheelers, by 2020. China has set itself a closer target of 500,000 alternate fuel (electric and hybrid) vehicles by 2015.
Quoting S. Sundareshan, secretary of ministry of heavy industries, Reuters said the centre would provide around Rs13,000 to Rs 14,000 crore of the total investment in the plan, with companies providing the remainder.
So far, only two Indian carmakers, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, have unveiled plans to develop electric vehicles, while a number of small two-wheeler makers have been selling electric two-wheelers assembled from from imported kits.
Yesterday Mahindra & Mahindra-owned Mahindra Reva, India's only electric car manufacturer, said an electric version of Mahindra & Mahindra's entry level sedan, Verito, would be on the market in two years (See: Electric-powered sedan in two years, says M&M)
After coming into M&M's fold, Reva started work on 'electrifying' Mahindra's portfolio of vehicles. M&M had showcased the electric Verito at the Delhi Auto Expo early this year.
Earlier in 2010, Tata Motors unveiled the electric version of the Nano, called Nano EV, at the 80th Geneva Motor Show.
Built in cooperation with the Norwegian electric car specialist firm Miljoebil Grenland, in which Tata Motors acquired a majority stake in 2008, (See: Tata Motors acquires majority stake in Norwegian electric car firm Miljų Grenland), the Nano EV, is a four-seater electric car with a range of about 80 miles that can accelerate from zero to about 35 miles per hour in 10 seconds. The car is powered by super-polymer lithium-ion batteries, which provides superior energy retention.
When launched, it will expand the company's electric vehicles portfolio, which so far comprises only the Tata Indica Vista EV, based on the new generation Tata Indica Vista, which was also unveiled at Geneva last year. (See: Tata unveils Nano Europa; showcases Prima, Indica Vista EV).
However, prices of electric vehicles are expected to be a major deterrent to large scale adoption of electric vehicle technology. In April the government withdrew a Rs100,000 per vehicle subsidy, that had been announced to boost sales of electric and hybrid vehicles.