India has an ambitious goal: 100 percent electric cars

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India has a announced an ambitious vision for its 1.2 billion people to drive only electric vehicles by 2030. The ambituous part of this announcement however is that the government thinks it can do it without spending a penny.

“We are trying to make this program self-financing,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said at a youth conference this week, according to The Times of India. “We don’t need one rupee of support from the government. We don’t need one rupee of investment from the people of India.”

“India can become the first country of its size which will run 100 per cent of electric vehicles.”

Goyal noted that a small working group of politicians under the leadership of Road Minister Nitin Gadkari has been created with Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. The group will meet in early April to hammer out the details of the goal.

According to Goyal, the initiative could include a program to incentivize buying electric cars by making them zero-down investments. Later on, the money the car owners would have spent on fuel could go to paying off the price of the vehicle.

“Innovation is possible, it just needs an open mind. You need to think of scale and be honest,” said Goyal.

“We are thinking of scale. We are thinking of leading the world rather than following the world. India will be first largest country in the world to think of that scale.”

With just 6 percent of households across India reporting they own car India ranks low on the list when it comes to car ownership.  Hoverer this is a figure that is expected to grow exponentially as the Indian economy expands.

It’s not the first time India has announced massive sustainability plans under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sometimes to mixed results. Last October, the world’s third biggest greenhouse gas polluter announced its new climate plan, promising to obtain 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. But earlier this year, the World Trade Organization ruled that provisions of India’s solar plan shut out international companies from India’s burgeoning solar market. Most recently, the country levied a 4 percent “green” tax on new passenger vehicle sales, part of an effort to fight air pollution and traffic congestion.

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