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Once known as the Detroit of South Asia, Tamil Nadu has swiftly and smartly pivoted to encash on the advent of electric vehicle technology to emerge as a key manufacturing hub and market. As impressive as it is, this is only the beginning


CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has emerged as one of the hottest markets and also a key manufacturing hub for electric vehicles in the country, accounting for more than 41% of the EVs sold in the country and also becoming the hub for electric two-wheelers. This is only going to go up in the coming years, show industry estimates.

According to the EV-Ready India Dashboard, a free digital platform focused on near real-time electric vehicle adoption and forecasts, associated battery demand, charging density, and market growth trends, which was launched by Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy RK Singh recently, the State is expected to record monthly sales of 1.48 lakh electric vehicles by December 2030.

To put this in contrast, 6,249 EVs were sold in Tamil Nadu in September 2023. That is, this number of estimated to rise by a whopping 24 times in the next seven years. Among the total electric vehicles sold last month, 5,177 were two-wheelers, 543 cars and SUVs, and 472 three-wheeler goods carriers. While the numbers are impressive in themselves, the adoption rate (4.46% in the case of two-wheelers and 2.17% for cars/SUVs) makes it clear that the potential for growth is vast.

The State is also the manufacturing hub for electric two-wheelers, Telangana in the case of electric three-wheelers, and Maharashtra for electric four-wheelers. In related fields, Karnataka has emerged as the hub for research and development and Gujarat for battery manufacturing.

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, more than 41 per cent of the EVs sold between January and September 20 were sold in Tamil Nadu. The data from Vahan dashboard said of the 10,44,600 EVs registered with Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across India, the State accounted for the sale of 4,14,802.

Earlier this year, Chief Minister MK Stalin unveiled the Tamil Nadu Electric Vehicles Policy 2023, which aims to make the State a leader in not only EV manufacturing but adoption as well by giving it adequate policy support and establishment of EV-centric cities among other initiatives.

It also moots making Chennai, Tiruchy, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem, and Tirunelveli as pilot cities for the implementation of e-mobility solutions.

‘Future is electric’

The dashboard, developed by policy and industry experts at think tank OMI Foundation, has forecast a 45.5% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in electric vehicles between calendar years 2022 and 2030. “The future is electric. Nobody can stop this. The price of storage will come down, and once that comes down, diesel and petrol SUVs will be history. We will have electric, which suits our journey as one of the largest economies of the world,” said RK Singh during his address at the function where the dashboard was launched.

While many push for the shift from internal combustion engine to electric citing environmental gains, there is a strategic dimension behind India’s decision to go all out: reduce the dependence on petroleum products, which comes with strings attached.

Singh said it was absolutely essential for India as a country to switch to electric mobility. “We want to move up from fifth to third-largest economy and increase our heft in strategic affairs. This requires energy independence, which is the primary reason for electric vehicles,” he said.

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