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India wants to make every car on its roads electric by 2030

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(Read caption) Smog and fog envelop the Indian Presidential Palace, behind, as commuters cross a street in the morning in New Delhi, India (Feb. 5, 2014). India wants to have all electric cars on its roads by 2030.

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Several countries have committed to putting more electric cars on their roads in the near future as a way to reduce air pollution and combat climate change.

But what if one country—and a very large one at that—decided to make every car on its roads electric inside of 15 years?

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That's the incredibly ambitious goal now being proposed by the Indian government.

It aims to establish an aggressive incentive program with the goal of having all electric cars on Indian roads by 2030.

At a recent press conference, Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal announced that a working group including the country's Road Minister, Oil Minister, and Environment Minister had been established to work toward this goal, according to Gadgets360 (via Charged EVs).

Goyal said the incentive scheme would allow citizens to obtain electric cars with no down payment, and then use fuel savings to pay for the balance of the cars.

He said the government is trying to make the entire program "self financing," and is likely expecting economies of scale to make the numbers work.

The Power Minister compared the proposed electric-car program to the government's Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme, under which massive amounts of LED light bulbs were distributed at below-market prices.

An electric-car program on a nationwide scale could potentially be large enough to reduce the cost of expensive components like battery packs, but the logistics of getting one of the world's most populous nations to switch to electric cars in just 15 years are staggering.

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India faces the additional problem of poor electricity infrastructure; at the same press conference Goyal said there are still 50 million Indian homes that don't have access to electricity.

Right now, the country also has a fairly dirty electricity grid, although it has committed to getting 40 percent of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

Despite having some of the worst air pollution in the world, India has been slow to adopt measures that reduce carbon emissions.

The government believes it is more important to lift its population out of poverty in the short term, rather than focus on long-term emissions reductions.

In that context, the new electric-car goal is quite a turnabout indeed.

This article first appeared in GreenCarReports.