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Bajaj Auto, TVS say plan to switch to EVs by 2025 unreal, may impact jobs

T E Narasimhan/Chennai 10 Jun 19 | 06:44 PM

Two- and three-wheeler makers have asked the government not to force unrealistic deadlines for the mass switch over to electric vehicles.

The Centre has mandated 100 per cent migration to EVs for three-wheeler makers by 2023 and by 2025 for two-wheeler units.

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While acknowledging the government's spirit to demonstrate a pioneer rather than laggard mindset, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto pointed three execution-related concerns.

First, it may be impractical to target such a scale when none of the stakeholders currently possesses any meaningful experience nor any of the pieces of the EV puzzle. Second, the move is ill-timed as the date is quite close to BS-VI implementation. And finally, to target only two- and three-wheelers and leave out cars and other vehicles makes it an incomplete initiative.

Bajaj said, "An appropriate middle path, to my mind, would be to target such a changeover through Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ) norms / electric vehicles in the first phase, for all vehicle categories from a particular date such as 2023 or 2025, starting with the most polluted cities of India. Based on the learnings from that experience, a collective plan can be put together to scale up as desired."

Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company Limited said that automakers everywhere support the overall goal of introducing electric vehicles (EV) and smoothly moving consumers towards electric mobility.

"As a result, we have been doing serious development work to ensure we can offer a mass market EV product that delivers on safety and high performance. This is necessary to co-opt consumers into making a switch, so it’s driven by consumer willingness and, therefore, adopted easily and widely. The supporting infrastructure for charging also needs to be as robust as conventional fuel options," Srinivasan added.

The auto industry globally is still a long way away from all of this, as is India, he explained.

"To force an unrealistic deadline for mass adoption of electric two- and three-wheelers will not just create consumer discontent, it also risks derailing India's auto-manufacturing sector, which supports 4 million jobs," said Srinivasan.

He added, "we need gradual and seamless adoption of EVs to avoid such collateral damage and ensure our technology-driven disruption is positive and lasting."

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