Electric mobility in India needs a common framework, says report

Even as more states are framing policies to promote electric mobility, the need is to develop a common framework for consistency and to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Rather than only a collection of incentives, goes a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation and the Ola Mobility Institute (OMI).

The report takes stock of 10 states and Union Territories that are building momentum for EV usage across the areas of manufacturing, infrastructure and services. It says EV uptake s has been slow because the vehicles are costly. Not only upfront but also on a life-cycle cost basis. In other words, the total cost of ownership, lack of fast-charging infrastructure, causing range anxiety among users, credit constraints, limited choice of vehicle models and behavioural failures that inhibit adoption of technologies with lower life-cycle cost.  

Given the nascent market, the role of government is important in accelerating adoption, diffusion and deployment of electric mobility. For a price-sensitive market, incentives for electric (clean) kilometres run versus electric vehicles purchased make economic sense and is suggested as the guiding principle for national strategy. 

While variation is understandable, a common framework for gauging the sustainability and longevity of EV policies across India is necessary for policy makers, businesses and practitioners alike, says the report. Such a framework also allows for global comparison on policies. 

It points to three emerging trends in the EV segment. One, most states aspire to be manufacturing hubs for EVs and EV components. Production of clean-fuel batteries, recycling and storage are incentivised across the board. Second, infrastructure development, largely a response to anxiety around the range of EVs. Most of the states studied have provision for installation of charging infrastructure in public and private places.For instance,  Uttar Pradesh is targeting 200,000 charging stations by 2024. Andhra is targeting 100 per cent electrification of buses by 2029.

The third trend is an emphasis on the services the EV value chain could provide through public awareness. These include skilling programmes in Tamil Nadu, fiscal incentives in Maharashtra and non-fiscal incentives like retrofitment services in Telangana. These are all examples of how states and territories try to connect consumers and manufactures.

The places studied — nine states and the UT of Delhi — have all published draft EV policies or notified final ones. The nine states being Andhra, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.

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