The bumpy road to India’s electric car dreams

Excerpt from bbc.com

India sold more electric vehicles in September than any month previously. Sales have been rising since April – the start of this financial year – and are already nearing the previous year’s total.

It’s a glimmer of hope for an industry that has been struggling with a global shortage in semiconductor chips, coming on the heels of a period of sluggish growth.

But it’s only a glimmer. Electric vehicle sales – 121,900 this financial year – account for only 1.66% of India’s 20 million automobile sales, according to the Delhi-based think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).

Some electric vehicle firms, especially makers of two-wheelers, are betting big, but the demand is lukewarm for cars and commercial vehicles like lorries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying to change that with a $3.5bn (£2.5bn) scheme to boost manufacturing.

Electric vehicles will also cut emissions as pressure ratchets up for India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, to set more ambitious climate goals ahead of the COP26 summit in November. The electric alternative is also growing in appeal as global oil prices surge, taking India’s fuel import bill to a staggering $24.7bn.