Key legal, policy and other developments for the Indian EV sector in 2022.
- India to be energy self-sufficient in 25 years: At an event marking 40 years of Suzuki in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the role EVs will play in making India energy efficient. The PM noted that the transport sector is key part of this goal, given their energy consumption, adding that research and innovation in this area must be encouraged.
- Power ministry issues amendments to guidelines for charging infrastructure: The ministry of power has issued an amendment to the revised consolidated guidelines and standards for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles issued on 14 January 2022. Two additions were made to the guidelines – a) public charging stations shall permit prepaid collection of service charges, with time of the day rates and discount for solar hours; b) a committee under the central electricity authority will recommend to states the ceiling limit of service charge to be levied on public charging stations.
- Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME-II Scheme) to encourage local components use. The government is reportedly working to revamp FAME-II Scheme to encourage use of local components. The changes to FAME-II Scheme are also geared towards preventing companies from availing of any subsidies without generating any value in India.
- New testing standards for EV batteries. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued new testing standards for EV batteries. According to a press note released by the MoRTH, the new standards will be implemented in a staggered manner – phase 1 from 1 December 2022, and phase 2 from 31 March 2023. The amendments issued were to Automotive Industry Standards (AIS)-156 and AIS-038 (Rev 2). The AIS 156 norms are applicable to electric two and three-wheelers, and focuses on the electric powertrain and the rechargeable electrical energy storage system (REESS) of EV vehicles. The AIS-038 (Rev 2) norms focus on functional safety, and are applicable to electric four wheelers (both passenger and commercial) and impose safety requirements on components like battery cells, onboard chargers, battery pack design, and short circuit loading.
- Draft aggregator policy released by New Delhi government: The Delhi government released a draft aggregator policy which would apply to cab aggregators (Uber, Ola) and also to food delivery and ecommerce players such as Zomato, Swiggy, Amazon and Flipkart. Aggregators will now have to transition to an all-electric fleet in a phased manner by April 1, 2030 or face fines and restrictions. They will have to clearly display their telephone numbers and email addresses, take action against errant drivers and report to the transport department on a quarterly basis.
- ‘Dismantling and checking’ tackle EV subsidy misappropriation scam: As part of investigations on whether manufacturers have violated localisation rules under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and hybrid vehicles in India (FAME) scheme, electric two-wheelers are being repurchased from customers and dismantled. The inspection is carried out by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in Pune and the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in Manesar. Vehicles are selected randomly and bought from customers in various cities as part of this exercise. Under the FAME scheme, manufacturers get incentives for locally sourcing key components, with the intention being to create a local ecosystem. Allegedly, manufacturers were using Chinese imports, thereby committing fraud by flouting localisation rules. Subsidies to Hero Electric and Okinawa have been placed on hold, as part of the investigation. Recently, testing agencies such as the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) were directed by the central government to check, verify and issue fresh certificates to EV makers who were honoring their localisation commitments.
- Ministry floats a digital platform for electric vehicles’ Production Linked Incentives Scheme (PLI Scheme): The Ministry of Heavy Industries (MOHI) has floated a digital platform to track electric vehicles’ PLI scheme. The move is intended to tighten the incentive disbursal system. A technology-enabled system will be used to ensure that data on the net value addition achieved during the manufacturing process is automatically fed into MOHI’s portal. This data will come directly from the ERP systems of the companies. Having direct access to this data will allow the traceability of equipment and inputs and their complete digital footprint.
- EVs have cut down 3.8 MT of carbon emissions in Delhi since 2013: According to a study by Climate Trends, an environmental research organisation, Delhi has cut down carbon emissions by 3.83 million tonnes (MT) due to the usage of EVs since 2013, with 1 MT carbon emissions cut since release of EV policy in 2020. In the past two years since the release of Delhi’s EV policy in August 2020, 71,109 EVs were registered in Delhi with the highest in the three-wheeler category at 48%, two wheelers at 43% and remaining being four wheelers.
- Karnataka’s EV industry hub to house 1000 startups: Ashwant Narayan, Karnataka’s Minister for Information Technology and Biotechnology, announed that the state government’s EV industry hub will house 1000 startups. The hub is part of Karnataka’s efforts to become a premier hub for electric vehicles in India.
- Uttar Pradesh announces new EV manufacturing and mobility policy, 2022: As part of efforts to promote quicker adoption of clean mobility solutions and create a conducive ecosystem for EVs, Uttar Pradesh has launched a new EV manufacturing and mobility policy. The policy seeks to establish three-levels of incentives: benefits to purchaser of EV vehicles, benefits to manufacturer of EVs, batteries and related components, and to service providers for providing charging/ swapping facilities. The policy aims at attracting investment of INR 30,000 crore and generate direct and indirect employment for 1 million people.
- EV sales being driven by e-commerce and food delivery firms: Reportedly, EV industry officials state that EV 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler sales are being driven mainly by logistics fleet operators to help meet demand from ecommerce and food delivery firms. The report also states that converting to electric vehicles helps reduce operating costs for e-commerce companies.
- Indian consumers more worried about EV quality and not range: According to a report released by CyberMedia Research (CMR), 50% of Indian consumers are open to purchasing EVs. However, a major concern for most consumers is the quality of both vehicular build and also internal components (including battery). This is contrary to industry perception that slow adoption of EVs is related to limited EV charging infrastructure and range anxiety.
- MG Motor India has launched the 4th edition of its ‘Developer programme and grant’ (MGDP) to bolster the EV startup ecosystem in India: MGDP (along with Invest India and Startup India as its partners) seeks to accelerate, mentor and incubate Indian startups in the field of electric mobility. Out of 830 entries, 180 auto-tech startups such as Koinearth, Electreefi, Voxomos and Mihup were selected for the programme. The theme for 2022 edition of MGDP is charging infrastructure, fleet management, electric components, electric batteries etc. India has set a target to obtain 50% of its installed electric capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
- Foxconn testing battery swapping infrastructure in India: Foxconn-backed Taiwanese company, Gogoro and Belrise, an Indian automotive system provider, have signed a deal with the Maharashtra state government to test EV battery-swapping in the state. The pilot project would be funded by Gogoro and Belrise, while the full project (costing USD 2.5 billion) would be funded by external investors. In September 2022, Foxconn, hadheld meetings with the central government on entering the Indian EV market.
All in all, 2022 was a positive year for the EV sector. The year 2023 has started on a good note with a pro-EV Budget 23 reducing Customs Duty from 21% to 13% on Lithium Batteries and an extension of the subsidies on EV batteries for one more year. Impetus for replacement of old polluting vehicles in the Budget is also likely to accelerate the transition towards electric vehicles.
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