NO PERMITS required for commercial electric vehicles (EVs), state-owned power utilities to set up fast-charging stations, and a scheme for e-buses to swap drained batteries with fully-charged ones at depots across key metros.
These are some of the key features of the government’s ambitious plan for a mass shift to electric vehicles by the year 2030. They are likely to be implemented in conjunction with the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan that aims to get six-seven million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020.
The electric mobility push is in line with the global trend. Norway, which has the highest penetration of electric cars in the world, has set a target of permitting sales of only electric or plug-in hybrid cars by 2025. The Netherlands has proposed a ban from 2025 on petrol and diesel cars. Last week, France announced that it will end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. And, premium carmaker Volvo has said that it will only make fully electric or hybrid cards from 2019.
India’s EV policy push builds on the basic groundwork that has been completed under the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles, or FAME India scheme, especially in areas of technology development and charging infrastructure.
According to an official involved in the initiative, there are two milestones: a near-term 2020 target for getting at least 6 million electric vehicles on the road, and a 2030 target for going all-electric in terms of new car sales.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Principal Advisor, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, and professor, IIT Madras (on sabbatical), said: “Unfortunately, I cannot speak till things are formalised.” Jhunjhunwala is among the group of officers who are working with a ministerial group on the e-mobility push.
India has an estimated 100 charging points for electric vehicles till date, most of them concentrated in cities such as Bengaluru. Currently, electric four-wheelers average about 100 km on full charge, and the problem of range anxiety, or fear of being stranded without charge midway through a trip, is a major stumbling block in the adoption of e-vehicles as a mass product.
NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation utility, has been directed to work on a blueprint for setting up charging stations, while other energy public sector undertakings would also be roped in to set up charging infrastructure across major metros.
The idea is to lower the cost of setting up charging stations from around Rs 2.5 lakh per unit currently to about Rs 1 lakh.
Nagpur is likely to be the first city in the country to be equipped with battery swapping and charging stations for a pilot project initiated by cab aggregator Bengaluru-based Ola.
As part of the immediate policy push, government-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd has been tasked with inviting bids for bulk supply of electric and hybrid cars for central government ministries and public sector undertakings in Delhi.
For mass transport vehicles such as buses, a proposal to sell electric vehicles without batteries, alongside a policy of leasing of batteries and the swapping of used ones at depots along bus routes, could lower prices of these vehicles by as much as 50 per cent.
In a report released Friday, policy think-tank Niti Aayog and Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute had recommended incentivising efficient new vehicles by setting up “a manufacturer consortium for batteries, common components, and platforms to develop battery cell technologies and packs and to procure common components for Indian original equipment manufacturers”.