When one or more electric motors are used as the vehicle’s propulsion system in place of an internal combustion engine (ICE), the vehicle is referred to as an electric vehicle (EV). Electric vehicles (EVs) can be powered by batteries that are recharged by plugging the car into an electrical source or by hydrogen fuel cells, which turn hydrogen gas into electricity.
Compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, EVs produce fewer emissions, are more energy-efficient, and can potentially save money on fuel and maintenance costs. While EVs were once seen as a niche market, they are becoming increasingly popular as battery technology improves and charging infrastructure becomes more widely available. The rise of EVs is part of a broader trend towards more sustainable transportation and reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
Types of EVs
India has been actively embracing electric vehicles (EVs) as part of its sustainable transportation strategy. There are four types of electric vehicles:
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
BEVs are also referred to as All-Electric Vehicles (AEV). BEV-powered electric vehicles rely entirely on a battery-powered electric drive train. The electricity used to power the vehicle is stored in a large battery pack that can be charged by connecting to the power grid. The charged battery pack then powers one or more electric motors, which power the electric vehicle.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
HEVs are also referred to as series hybrid or parallel hybrid. HEVs have both engines and electric motors. The engine is powered by fuel, and the motor is powered by batteries. Both the engine and the electric motor rotate the transmission at the same time.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
The PHEVs are also referred to as series hybrids. They have both an engine and a motor. One can choose between conventional fuel (such as gasoline) and alternative fuel (such as biodiesel). A rechargeable battery pack can also be put in use to power it. External charging is possible for the battery.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)
FCEVs are also commonly referred to as Zero-Emission Vehicles. They use ‘fuel cell technology’ for the production of the electricity needed to power the vehicle. The fuel’s chemical energy is directly converted into electrical energy.
Need of EV Policy
It is believed that faster adoption and promotion of Electric vehicles will not only bring down the import bill but also the pollution arising from the use of ICE vehicles. India has the potential to become a leading hub for manufacturing EVs and EV components with a robust EV Policy.
EV on Indian Roads
Electric vehicles (EVs) are slowly gaining popularity on Indian roads, although they are still relatively uncommon. One of the hurdles to the widespread adoption of EVs in India is the lack of adequate charging infrastructure.
Despite various challenges, the market for EVs in India is slowly growing. In 2021, electric two-wheelers, particularly scooters, emerged as the most popular EV segment, accounting for over 96% of EV sales in the country. Electric cars and buses are also gradually gaining popularity, with several manufacturers launching EV models in the market. Overall, while the adoption of EVs in India is still in its early stages, the country has the potential to become a major market for EVs in the future, given the Government’s commitment to promoting electric mobility and the increasing awareness among consumers about the perks of EVs.
Challenges under EV Policy
While it cannot be denied that EVs provide huge benefits over traditional vehicles that use fossil fuels, there are several challenges that have been identified by EV users, enthusiasts, and the public, as well as various stakeholders in vehicle manufacturing, which need to be addressed to realize the full potential of EVs in India. The major issues of EV policy present in the EV space are summarised below:
One of the major hurdles in the adoption of EVs in India is the unavailability and slow development of charging infrastructure. The foundation upon which the EV market is built is the availability of charging infrastructure, and India has not been successful in establishing and using this infrastructure at a rapid rate. As a result, both the production and sale of EVs in India are affected.
Factors like unsurety in utilization rates of charging stations, load on electricity Distribution Company, huge operating costs, etc., create a negative environment for operators for the establishment of charging stations and discourage investment when there aren’t enough EVs on Indian roads for operators to see a return on their investments. Limited charging infrastructure in India, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, as well as on Highways and expressways, which are more than 600 at present in the country, makes it difficult for EV owners for travelling long distances and may discourage potential buyers from purchasing an EV.
Range anxiety is one of the crucial challenges ahead of the growth path for electric vehicles in India. Customers of EVs frequently worry about whether the car will be able to get from point A to point B before the battery dies. The EV charging infrastructure in India is too low compared to the petrol pumps. Also, the available EV charging stations are concentrated in urban areas only.
High Initial Cost
In India, there is no price parity between electric and ICE vehicles. Electric vehicles are typically more costly than their counterparts powered by traditional fuels. This huge price difference discourages many interested EV buyers from shying away from making a decision to buy them.
Scarce Battery Technology
The battery technology used in EVs is still evolving, and the cost of the battery is a significant factor in the overall cost of an EV. Moreover, the availability of rare earth metals and other raw materials required for the production of batteries is limited. The lithium-ion battery is the most popular and widely used energy source for EVs. India relies on imports for EV batteries, resulting in sky-high prices for these important components and, eventually, the EVs as well. The cost of repetitive battery replacement, etc., does not make EVs a popular option for Indian consumers.
In the absence of widespread marketing strategies concerning the impact and importance of EVs, Indian consumers have limited awareness of EVs as alternatives to traditional fossil fuel engine-based vehicles.
EV Policy in India
EV policy plays a crucial role in the promotion of Electric Vehicles. The Indian Government has implemented a number of EV Policy and initiatives related to EV charging and public infrastructure to encourage EV adoption and address environmental concerns. Some of the EV policy launched by the Government are-
National Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM)
This EV Policy was launched in the Year 2011. The NCEM is the apex body for making the recommendation to promote electric mobility and manu facturing of electric vehicles. The Hon’ble Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises serves as the NCEM’s chair. A 25-member National Board for Electric Mobility made up of secretaries of central ministries and departments from stakeholders and including representatives from business and academia, will support the Council.
Functions of NCEM
- Consider and recommend/approve overall broad policy guidelines, fund requirements, and governance models and strategies for promoting electric mobility and for encouraging the manufacture of electric vehicles in the country.
- To approve the key interventions, projects, and incentives required, prioritize these interventions and projects. Approve the nodal agency/ministry for its implementation and finalize the short-term and long-term road map for these interventions/projects.
- To consider and recommend to the Government any legislation, act notification, or amendment to existing legislation, act, or notification for promoting electric vehicles and their manufacturing in India.
- To consider and recommend to the Government the additional resources required for promoting EVs and their manufacturing in India, including finalizing the medium and long-term resource requirements.
- To synergize the efforts being made by various Ministries, industry, academia, and research institutes.
- To consider and approve mechanisms, collaboration, business models, and possible government incentives/interventions in funding for technology acquisition, acquisition of technical expertise, and entering into agreements with leading R&D centers globally to facilitate the availability of technology to the domestic industry.
National Automotive Board
This was launched in the Year 2012 in the month of October. This board was considered the nodal agency for implementing the FAME India scheme, including disbursement of funds for the various components.
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020
In 2013, the Indian Government issued an EV policy named the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020. This EV policy was one of the most significant and ambitious initiatives undertaken by the Government of India for a transformational paradigm shift in the country’s automotive and transportation industries. This was the culmination of comprehensive, collaborative planning for the promoting hybrid and electric mobility in India by a combination of policies aimed at gradually ensuring a vehicle population of approximately 6-7 million hybrid/electric vehicles in India by the year 2020, along with a certain level of technology indigenization ensuring India’s global leadership in some vehicle segments. It was a composite scheme utilizing various policy levers like:
- Incentives on the demand side to encourage the purchase of hybrid/electric vehicles
- Promotion of R&D in technology, including battery technology, motors, power electronics, systems integration, testing infrastructure, battery management system, and ensuring industry participation in the same
- Promoting charging infrastructure
- Supply-side incentives
- Encouraging the retrofit of hybrid equipment to on-road vehicles
PHASE 1 of FAME India
This EV policy was launched in the Year 2015 in the month of April. This scheme was launched under the NEMMP 2020 for a two-year period between April 1st, 2015, and March 31st, 2017. In order to encourage the production of hybrid and electric vehicle technology and for ensuring sustainable growth, the Department of Heavy Industry created the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in 2015.
Phase-I of the scheme was initially launched for a period of 2 years with a total fund allocation of INR 795 cr., starting from 1st April 2015, which was extended time and again, and the last extension was allowed up to 31st March 2019 with an additional outlay of INR 100 cr. Phase I of the FAME India Scheme was implemented through four focus areas, namely:
- Demand Creation
- Technology Platform
- Pilot Project
- Charging Infrastructure
Technology Platform for Electric Mobility (TPEM)
This EV Policy was set in the Year 2016 in the month of February. It was set up to Research and develop consortia Projects.
Objectives under this EV policy:
- To develop technologies & products that specifically address India’s requirements
- to gain a competitive edge globally in a few electric mobility technologies.
- To improve industry technology to the point where it can soon reduce and eventually stop providing consumer subsidies for electric vehicles.
Department of Heavy Industries
It extended FAME 1 for six months. It has been extended a total of four times. The Department of Heavy Industries stopped extending benefits to mild hybrid vehicles in the country under the FAME.
National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM)
The National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM) has been established by the Department of Heavy Industry, and the approval was given by the Cabinet. The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 was introduced by the Indian government in 2013.
It was constituted six years after its approval. The main functions of NBEM are –
- To examine, formulate, and propose the short-term and long-term plan and contours of the mission program on electric mobility, quantifiable outcomes, its objectives, and roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders.
- To suggest and advocate policy directives, governmental actions, and potential tactics for fostering electric mobility and promoting the nation’s electric vehicle industry.
- To expedite the standardization of electric vehicle charging systems and charging infrastructure.
- To develop plans and provide guidance to various ministries and other stakeholders for carrying out the NCEM’s decisions.
- To ensure and report compliance of action for the various decisions taken by NCEM.
- To examine, recommend, monitor, and review electric mobility-related R&D projects and pilot projects.
Draft Amendment to Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989
As per the notification released on 7th August, 2018 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the following draft of certain rules further amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989
Rule 115-D highlighted allowing retrofitting conventional vehicles into electric vehicles or hybrid electric-based vehicles.
|Type of Retro-fitment or Conversion and Motor Vehicle Categories||Compliance standard|
|Retrofitting a Hybrid Electric System Kit to M and N category motor vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight of less than 3500 kg.||Shall conform to the requirements stipulated in Automotive Industry Standard -123 (Part 1)|
|Retrofitting a Hybrid Electric System Kit to vehicles in the M and N categories with a Gross Vehicle Weight exceeding 3500 kg.||Shall conform to the requirements stipulated in Automotive Industry Standard -123 (Part 2)|
|Conversion of motor vehicles for pure electric operation with the fitment of Pure Electric System Kit by replacing the engine of Motor Vehicles of categories L, M, N1, and N2||Shall conform to the requirements stipulated in Automotive Industry Standard -123 (Part 3)|
Category M: used for the carriage of passengers
Category N: used for the carriage of goods (trucks)
Category L: Motor vehicles with less than four wheels
Category N1: Vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes
Category N2: vehicles used to transport goods with a maximum mass greater than 3.5 tonnes but less than 12 tonnes.
Model Building Bye-laws (MBBL) 2016 and Urban Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines 2014
Under this EV policy amendments were made to the clauses establishing the infrastructure for electric charging. The Guidelines will serve as a reference guide for state governments and union territories as they develop their own building bye-laws that incorporate the standards and norms of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. All State Governments and Union Territories Administrations have received the guidelines on electric vehicle charging infrastructure along with a request to modify their building bylaws and master plan regulations.
National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage
Under this EV policy in 2019, the Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage. It was chaired by the CEO, NITI Aayog. The role of the mission under this EV policy is-
- To advocate for and coordinate phased manufacturing programs for EVs, EV components, and batteries, as well as transformative mobility strategies.
- To localize manufacturing throughout the entire EV value chain, a Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) will be introduced. The PMP’s boundaries and the program’s specifics will be decided by the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage.
- The Mission will determine the specifics of the value addition that can be realized with each stage of localization and will have a clear Make in India strategy for both the battery and the components of electric vehicle
- To incorporate various programs to transform India’s mobility, the Mission will coordinate with important stakeholders in Ministries/Departments, the States, and the Local Governments.
PHASE 2 of FAME
Under this EV policy, the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) approved 2636 EV charging stations in PHASE 2. DHI, in the month of May, revised the Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) for EV parts for eligibility under the FAME 2 Scheme.
The second phase, FAME II, is a three-year subsidy program. It aims to help electrify shared and public transportation, including approximately 7,000 electric and hybrid buses, 500,000 lakh electric three-wheelers, 55,000 electric four-wheeler passenger cars, and 1 million electric two-wheelers. Additionally, the program funds infrastructure for charging. There will be 532 charging stations installed overall until July 2022.
How will this EV policy scheme help improve charging infrastructure?
- With the active involvement of both public sector organizations and private players, the center will invest in the construction of charging stations
- Additionally, it has been suggested to install one slow-charging unit and one fast-charging station for every ten electric buses.
- Projects for charging infrastructure will include those needed to extend electrification for running vehicles, such as pantograph charging and flash charging.
- FAME 2 will also encourage the interlinking of renewable energy sources with charging infrastructure.
- The plan aims to encourage the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in public transportation and
- By aggregating demand and creating new markets, it aims to promote the use of EVs.
Incentives of the EV policy
There are various incentives under the EV policy. Some of them are –
Many state governments offer tax credits to individuals or businesses purchasing EV charging stations, making the installation more affordable.
Some regions provide direct subsidies or grants to support the installation of EV charging infrastructure, especially in public places or for commercial use.
Reduced Electricity Rates
Special electricity rates or time-of-use pricing for charging EVs encourage users to charge during off-peak hours when the grid has lower demand.
In certain areas, EV owners might receive free or discounted parking, making it more convenient to charge their vehicles in public spaces.
Governments may offer grants to businesses and local authorities to develop public charging infrastructure, promoting widespread access to charging stations.
India’s commitment to electric vehicles is evident through its robust policies and initiatives. By incentivizing EV adoption, expanding charging infrastructure, and investing in innovative solutions, the country is poised to transform its transportation landscape. With a sustainable approach and continuous efforts, India is not only embracing the future of mobility but also contributing significantly to a cleaner environment and a greener future for all.
According to information provided by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, as of March 21st, 2023, there were 6586 public charging stations (PCS) in use nationwide.
The following guidelines have been released by the central government for the installation of EV charging stations in India: Every 3 km in urban areas, 100 km on roads for heavy-duty vehicles, and 25 km on highways must have an EV charging station installed.
Yes, there are certain incentives to promote EV charging in India such as tax credits, subsidies, reduced electricity rates, parking benefits, infrastructure grants
To guarantee the security, dependability, and compatibility of EVs and the charging infrastructure in India, e-mobility standards and regulations must be established. Government programs like the FAME India program and the Bharat EV Standards are establishing a legal framework for the EV market.
Some of the challenges to EV charging adoption are charging infrastructure, range anxiety, high initial cost, scarce battery technology, limited awareness, etc.
Some of the benefits consumers get from EV policy are lower running costs, low maintenance costs, tax and financial benefits, and convenience of charging at home, etc.
Under EV policy by 2030, the government hopes to increase renewable energy production to 500 GW, which would supply 50% of all energy requirements. If achieved, this growth would lessen pollution while continuing to supply electricity for EV charging.
The advantages of EVs, including lower emissions, lower operating costs, and improved energy security, are made known to the general public through campaigns like “Shoonya – Zero Pollution Mobility” and “Go Electric.” Investor confidence in the EV sector is increased by government support.
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