India should not rush with its push for electric vehicles as it is not commercially or technologically viable, car maker Mercedes-Benz’s India Managing Director Roland Folger told PTI in an interview on Sunday.
Having only electric vehicles would “foreclose better technological options” for future generations, as the rest of the world is working towards vehicles that run on hydrogen, and not electricity, Folger said.
“By 2040, the whole world will be driving home hydrogen cars,” he said. “To me, the whole plan to go electric nationwide looks like a rushed-with idea.”
India plans to replace all its petrol- and diesel-run vehicles with an all-electric fleet by 2030, which is likely to slash its oil bill by around $60 billion (Rs 3.8 lakh crore) and emissions by 37% annually. Folger, however, said this time frame is too short. Such a short time frame could discourage auto companies from investing in or developing any more products, he said.
“If so, what will happen to the investments already made in other technologies?” he said, adding: “Ideally, regulators and policymakers should be totally aligned with what’s happening on the technology front because five to 10 years is a short period in the auto landscape. The least policymakers can do is to take the auto industry into confidence.”
Folger also said that setting up infrastructure to make electric cars possible would be expensive, and it was not clear who would foot the bills. “Plug-in hybrids”, though costlier, are a better option, as setting up infrastructure for them would be cheaper, he said.