Indian Politician Thinks All the Country's Cars Will be Electric by 2030

Good luck with that.

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Piyush Goyal, a man with the extremely long title of Union Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, has an ambitious plan whereby 100 percent of new cars in India will be powered by electricity by 2030—or just thirteen years from right now. 

"We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way,” said the man with a job title longer than some articles I’ve written. “The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country." There are about 28.6 million cars in India; as of December 2015, 4,350 of them were fully electric. That’s a little over one 1/100th of one percent.

One of the most ambitious parts of this plan is that it is slated to get done without long-term subsidies. The EV industry will get two- to three years of government assistance, after which they're on their own. Goyal makes the assumption that this 100 percent conversion to electric cars will be driven purely by demand. That’s right: his plan assumes every single motorist in India is going to bail on the internal combustion engine and demand an EV.

That’s not even the best part. You’re probably wondering how charging stations are going to work with such an extreme amount of electric cars in a country with some of the most densely populated cities in the world. It’s (apparently) simple: you just swap out your battery at a gas station. Goyal elaborates: "Electric cars can then move to petrol pumps, swap their batteries and drive out, just like they do now. And it will take less time than what it takes to put petrol in your car, like in Formula-1 races!"

All right, pal. There’s no doubt that India has an air quality problem on their hands with their biggest city, Delhi, being one of the most polluted cities on the planet. But making a goal that’s this lofty and assuming the market will make your wish come true with minimal government involvement isn’t going to solve anything. Maybe take a page out of China’s playbook and introduce more strict emissions regulation to encourage automakers to introduce realistic solutions. If you want to know more about India’s plan, watch the full exchange below.