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Hybrid, electric cars still a rarity in India

January 2, 2016: Though the automobile industry in India is facing a lot of flak from activists for growing environmental pollution, especially in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune, the sector is still a long way from launching affordable hybrid cars.

The Department of Heavy Industry, government of India, had a few months ago notified a scheme - Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid and) Electric vehicles in India (FAME-India). The aim is to support the development and manufacturing eco-system of hybrid/electric vehicles and to achieve self-sustenance.

The scheme is aimed at incentivising all vehicle segments - two-wheelers, three-wheelers, passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and buses - and aims for a cumulative fuel saving of about 9,500 million litres, which would result in reduction of pollution and greenhouse gas emission of two million tonnes and targeted market penetration of seven million vehicles by 2020. Total savings in fuel costs would add up to Rs600 billion by 2020.

The government offers incentives to manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles of up to Rs29,000 for bikes and Rs138,000 for cars. It has approved an outlay of Rs7.95 billion for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The government says the mission will be one of the biggest contributors in reducing pollution from the road transport sector in the near future.