Why switching to electric vehicles is fiscally imprudent: Prem Shankar Jha

(Prem Shankar Jha is a senior journalist and author. The column first appeared in the print edition of The Indian Express on August 5, 2021)

 

  • On July 28, it was reported that 650 of the 8,033 Nexons — Tata Motors’ popular mini-SUV — sold in June were EVs, that is, had electricity-driven engines. This breakthrough has been ascribed to the fact that thanks to a spate of central and state government subsidies, the e-variant now costs only Rs 2 lakh more than the diesel and Rs 3 lakh more than the petrol variant. Since the running cost of the E-Nexon is only a sixth of the diesel variant, even buyers who drive as little as 40 km a day can now recover the extra capital cost of the car in just over two years in comparison with the diesel, and three years in comparison with the petrol variant. This sounds wonderful. So has India found the way out of fossil fuels in the transport sector? Not exactly …

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