Evolution of electric vehicle industry in India: WRI reports review EV policies & strategies

An EV policy study recommends how states could further their cause by framing clearer targets and objectives linked with policy incentives, allocating fiscal resources with specific revenue streams and so on.

By:March 24, 2021 4:05 PM

World Resources Institute India (WRI India) on Wednesday launched three reports tracking the evolution of the electric vehicle (EV) sector in India – by studying policy level intervention, private sector strategies, and public transport adoption plans. Together, the reports aim to offer a definitive analysis of the EV evolution to its various stakeholders and chart the way for a smooth transition in the next decade.

The reports:

1) A Review of State Government Policies for Electric Mobility: This tracks the progress made by 12 state EV policies to increase the adoption of EVs and encourage private investments in their respective regions.

The states reviewed are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The study assesses mechanisms like subsidies and tax exemptions through the lens of consumer incentives (purchase of subsidies, tax exemptions, access to financing, toll fee waivers, etc.); charging infrastructure incentives (capital subsidies for EV supply equipment or EVSE, concessional land provision, EV charging tariff, use of clean fuel technologies, etc.); and, industry incentives (capital subsidies, tax exemptions, battery recycling initiatives, employment, skill development, research and development initiatives, etc.).

It recommends how states could further their cause by framing clearer targets and objectives linked with policy incentives, allocating fiscal resources with specific revenue streams and so on.

2) Tracking India’s Industrial Evolution with Electric Mobility: This analyzes 31 strategic business moves that the private players made to increase their share of the EV market between 2017 and 2020.

These moves reflected the sector’s intent to accelerate EV. The initiatives ranged from efforts by the automobile sector to adopt EV technologies to non-automotive firms developing manufacturing and support infrastructure, legacy firms partnering with start-ups and other Indian and foreign players to gain market share, and so on.

Also read: More Indians ready to buy electric vehicles: Survey

3) Procurement of Electric Buses: Insights from Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Analysis: This takes a deep-dive into a diverse range of pressure points that state-owned bus agencies are facing today, including capital costs, the impact of the region’s topography, among other factors. It details the best financial models that corporations can deploy to minimize risk for a smooth transition to EV.

Further, the research reveals that electric buses, despite their higher upfront costs, can be financially viable in the long-term– they will break even after being operated for approximately 200 km-per-day over six years, and start reaping benefits. It suggests that state agency budgets should look at the life cycle of a bus in its entirety, not just in initial investments, considering that e-buses are cheaper to run and maintain in the long run than their diesel counterparts.

Collectively, these reports attempt to decode various policies and business sentiments and draw a larger picture of India’s progress in the EV sector. They aim to inform a wide range of EV stakeholders – including the government and its departments, industries, civil society, and others – at a time when the Centre and the private sector are showing renewed interest in transitioning to electric mobility.

India has been aggressive in meeting the commitments made at the Paris Agreement in 2015. So far, the nation has “achieved a reduction of 21% in emission intensity of its GDP between 2005 and 2014”. However, commitments in the transition to electric vehicles has been slow to start. As a signatory of the Electric Vehicle Initiative, India aims to deliver 30@30 – that is, ensuring that 30% of vehicle sales are electric by 2030. The initiatives taken by the Centre, several state governments and the private sector show promise.

“Many states have come forward with EV policies in the past couple of years, which is a good first step. What needs to be better understood is the role of different incentives in promoting adoption and the roadmap to implementation,” said Chaitanya Kanuri, manager, Electric Mobility at WRI India.

“The review of state EV policies is an incentives-focused publication that highlights the different policy levers states have promoted to increase EV uptake and support the industrial transition of our automotive sector. However, states need to urgently move from policy to implementation now. There is a lot of work to be done going ahead,” she added.

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