Millennium Post

Govt finalising policy to drive electric 2-wheeler R&D

The government is almost ready with policies to promote electric two-wheelers, Union Minister Jayant Sinha said on Friday. The government is facilitating equity capital for investors under various mechanism including India Aspiration Fund, he said, while calling upon the big industries to invest in the electric two-wheelers sector.

"Electric vehicles are very strategic for us as an economy. We are working at policy level to make this electric two-wheelers work," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said at the 15th Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture organised by leading energy think-tank Teri. 

"Policies are already in place both in transport and power ministries. What is required is innovative models and financing..." he noted. Stating that electric two-wheelers are going to be game changer, Sinha said, "It is a massively important sector. India today is the world's largest market for two-wheelers.

"But they are petrol driven. We need to really make a transition to electric two wheelers." From policy perspective, government is really driving towards making electric vehicles more economical, practical and feasible for Indian conditions, he said. He, however, said batteries for electric two-wheelers is big problem area. "How do we recharge these vehicles? How do we get right batteries. Tremendous research is required in this area," the minister said.

He also emphasised on using rooftop solar energy for recharging electric two-wheelers and called for more innovation from scientific community. On financing of such projects, Sinha said equity risk capital and not bank loans are very crucial for the sector. 

"Do we have sources of equity risk capital in this country and investors who are willing to put billions of dollars on new technology? I think we have big financing gap in equity risk capital," he said. Much of India's industry especially pharma, telecom, IT and e-commerce are funded by venture capitalists and private equity, and 90 per cent of which has come offshore and not from domestic sources, he said.

It is due to this reason that the government is creating institutions like India Aspiration Fund to provide sources for equity funding, he added. Delivering the 15th Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture, Tata Chemical Managing Director Mukundan talked about what businesses can do, shape and lead in sustainability. 

Emphasising strongly that business leaders must focus on not just earning profits, but also play a significant role in shaping the society, he said: "It is important to comprehend that an increased focus on the larger good of society, is an enabler of sustainable profitable growth." 
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