Plugging into progress

Imlisanen Jamir

The push for electric vehicles is a global trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years. Car manufacturers all over the world have been investing heavily in the development of electric vehicles and hybrids. In the India Auto Expo 2023 which began on January 11, leading car companies such as Mahindra, Hyundai, Kia and Maruti Suzuki showcased their electric vehicles and concepts to phase out internal combustion engines in the near future.

The Central Government has also been providing various incentives to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, such as tax breaks, subsidies, and infrastructure development. This trend is expected to accelerate in the coming years as the world looks to meet ambitious emission reduction targets and improve air quality.

The future of electric vehicles (EVs) in places like Nagaland however is uncertain, to say the least. Despite the Indian government's renewed push for EVs with the launch of phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric (FAME) Vehicles scheme in 2019, with an outlay of ₹10,000 crore, most parts of the country are yet to see any significant development in terms of EV infrastructure.

Recent data from the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) shows that vehicle registrations in Nagaland surged to 25,733 in 2022 and nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels. However, it's worth noting that not a single one of these vehicles was electric. This is not surprising, given the absolute dearth of EV charging infrastructure in the state.

The lack of EV infrastructure is a major obstacle to the adoption of electric vehicles in Nagaland. Electric cars require charging stations, which are scarce in the state. Without them, it's difficult for residents to even consider buying an electric car. Furthermore, the state lacks the necessary technical expertise to maintain and repair electric vehicles, further hindering their adoption.

Despite these challenges, it is important for Nagaland to start investing in EV infrastructure as soon as possible. The benefits of EVs are undeniable. They are cleaner, more efficient, and cheaper to operate than their gasoline counterparts. They also help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which is vital for addressing the urgent issue of climate change.

However, it's also important to acknowledge that transitioning to EVs won't be easy, especially in a state like Nagaland where infrastructure is lacking. It could be beneficial for the state to study and understand the technical knowhow of how to set up charging station. 

Nagaland can explore possibilities of collaborations with private players and companies who have already been in the space of EV charging stations and also with other states in the country which have already adopted the EV infrastructure. This could also involve investing in charging infrastructure, training mechanics to work on electric vehicles, and encouraging manufacturers to set up operations in the state.

These steps will ensure that Nagaland is not left behind as the world moves towards a more sustainable future.

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