UK’s EV push: India should take note and tie up with British partners
In a big move that could have a ripple effect for the green movement around the world, the UK has decided to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 as part of a £12 billion green agenda. This includes £1.3 billion to put in place charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) in homes, streets and highways, and another £582 million in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles. Additionally, nearly £500 million will be spent in the next four years for the development and production of electric vehicle batteries.
The UK’s plan is serious as it offers subsidies to incentivise the transition to EVs and invests in the infrastructure required. In that sense, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s green agenda is in stark contrast to the Donald Trump administration in the US, which romanticised fossil fuels. Clearly there is a fundamental difference between Johnson and Trump in their approaches to science, notwithstanding their being clubbed together as populist leaders. The other country that is taking EVs seriously is China, basing this on its sheer dominance of the global electric batteries market. This ought to have spurred the US to join the EV race.
Hopefully, the UK’s green push can now make up for the US dropping the ball. In India, the government in 2017 began by setting an ambitious target of 100% electric cars by 2030. But a pushback by industry and fears of job losses forced it to climb down. Without government investing in EV infrastructure upfront, passing the buck to industry won’t work. Nonetheless, EVs are the future and a concrete transition plan is needed. India should work with the UK and synergise EV development. The two sides can even jointly produce for the world market. Otherwise, China will soon come to dominate the global automobile industry.