India Plans to Switch All New Cars to Electric by 2030

Traffic moves around the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station in Mumbai, India. Peter Adams/Getty Images

A top Indian official recently affirmed that nation's goal of switching that nation's fleet of new vehicles sold to be completely powered by electricity by 2030, just 13 years from now.

"The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country," Piyush Goyal, India's minister of state in charge of energy, said at a recent conference in New Delhi, according to India Today.

That switch wouldn't necessarily make India the first nation on the planet to abandon the gas pump, since Norway is aiming to ban fossil fuel-based cars by 2025 and switch to electric vehicles (EVs). And the smaller, less populous Scandinavian country has a big head start. It already has 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles, and sales of EVs there are likely to overtake gasoline and diesel-powered ones this year, according to the British publication EV Fleet World.

All the same, going totally EV is an ambitious goal for India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, that had nearly 160 million registered vehicles in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. That number includes more than 38 million cars and 115 million motorcycles and three-wheel vehicles, plus 4 million heavy trucks and 1.7 million buses. By one estimate, only a few thousand of India's cars right now are electric.

As Goyal explained in 2016, India is aiming to entice car buyers to go electric by providing zero-down-payment financing, and selling them on the notion that what they save in fuel costs will make the car pay for itself. "Innovation is possible, it just needs an open mind," the minister said at the time.

As this recent  India Times article details, India has already started to build the infrastructure of charging stations that the massive EV fleet would require. So far, 10 Indian cities have places to charge EVs, and one city, Delhi, has 23 of them.