Goa will have to burn rubber to reach EV target on time

The State wants 30 per cent of its registered vehicles to be EVs by next year but is nowhere near that target yet
Goa will have to shift into a higher gear to meets its EV target.
Goa will have to shift into a higher gear to meets its EV target.

Much fanfare marked the Goa government's announcement of reaching the goal of having 30 per cent of the total registered vehicles as electric vehicles (EVs) by next year.

One year before that goalpost has to be reached, Goa is nowhere near it. The latest number released by the State’s Directorate of Transport shows around 15,379 vehicles registered were EVs, which is a big jump from 1,500 green vehicles in April 2022. But the share of EVs in the total number of vehicles on the road is still small compared to what the government is looking to achieve.

Goa will have to shift into a higher gear to meets its EV target.
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The recent rise in EV sales has come despite the termination of the subsidy scheme two years back. Recently, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant hinted at resuming the subsidy but has done little on the ground to bring it back.

The road on which EVs are driving to overtake traditional fuel – petrol and diesel – vehicles is strewn with many hurdles. The biggest one is its high price compared to petrol and diesel vehicles. Of the many things that keep its price elevated is lithium, which is scarce in India.  

The recent rise in EV sales has come despite the termination of the subsidy scheme two years back. Recently, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant hinted at resuming the subsidy but has done little on the ground to bring it back.

So, manufacturers have to procure it from the overseas market. India is heavily dependent for this cosmic mineral on China and due to its strained relations with its neighbour, it has imposed an import duty of around 200 per cent on it.

This means Indians pay Rs 20 on every import of lithium worth Rs 10. Against this, the government is giving a subsidy of around Rs 15. This has miffed players in the industry, who feel despite the relief in the levy, the government ends up charging them Rs 5 for the mineral import.

Goa will have to shift into a higher gear to meets its EV target.
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Reports of discovery of lithium reserves in Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Jharkhand have been met with elation by the industry. However, it’s not changed the market reality to any great extent.

At the consumer end, many buyers are going in for an EV – mostly as a second or a backup vehicle – to do their bit for the environment but are often bogged down with charging hassles.

Reports of discovery of lithium reserves in Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Jharkhand have been met with elation by the industry.

Used to filling up their petrol or diesel tanks in less than five minutes, EV owners are taking some time to get used to EV battery charging time of 4-5 hours, if at all they find a charging hub close to their residence.

What is appealing about the EV is its running cost. The total cost (fuel and service) of running a petrol two-wheeler is around Rs 5 per kilometre and for a four-wheeler around Rs 10 per km. For the EVs, its only eight paise per km for two-wheelers and Re 1 per km for four-wheelers.

Goa will have to shift into a higher gear to meets its EV target.
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For many, the low operational cost of an EV does not square off with its high EV prices and charging woes. There are still not enough charging centres in Goa. Another factor that goes against the state is its undulating terrain. Many EV models are not suited for some hilly areas of Goa.

After the initial euphoria, there is a general disenchantment among both sellers and buyers. Many unknown brands that have entered the Goan market are having a tough time pushing their sales up.

Goa will have to shift into a higher gear to meets its EV target.
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One of the positives for the State is that it is one of the places which has fully exempt EVs from road tax.

The state has now pinned its hope on Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) a scheme under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) and subsidised loans to buyers to drive up the EV sales.

The scheme, which will be implemented by the department of new and renewable energy and Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA), though has not made much headway till now.

And so, unless the state works some magic, it may not be able to touch the finish line (of 30 per cent EVs on Goan roads) by next year.

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