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Consistent EV adoption targets critical for faster transition in India

A study by JMK Research indicates that the lack of coordinated EV adoption targets by the centre and the states is a key bottleneck.

A recent notification by the Ministry of Road Transport indicates that there has been a three-fold jump in EV adoption in the country over the last one year. However, is this enough? Well, a recent study by JMK Research, ‘Accelerating Transport Electrification in India by 2030’ indicates that targets and incentives across all the state EV Policies should be consistent with the national EV sales projections and incentives.

Though nearly 19 states have rolled out their EV policies during the last three to four years and a few more in draft stage, there is a major lag between the national and state level projections. While the national EV sales projections are in both percentage terms as well as absolute numbers, the target of all the states combined is not homologous. There lies the anomaly as per JMK Research study. It is either in percentage of all new vehicle registrations or in absolute numbers for respective states. For a more coordinated and synchronous outcome, the research reiterates the need for these state targets to complement national forecast.

While NITI Aayog has explicit goals for different vehicle categories, only a few states/UTs have stated targets on similar lines till now. Some states and UTs, including Maharashtra, Chandigarh, Punjab, and Karnataka have set separate targets for each vehicle category including two-, three- and four-wheelers. 

EV bus fleet targets another area of concern
It is no secret that shared mobility, especially the state-run bus fleet is seen as major protagonist in the transition to electric mobility across states. Different states have set targets in terms of some percentage of their bus fleet to be converted to EVs by a defined target year.

But there are states such as Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that have not explicitly stated their public transport targets in terms of percentage conversion or strict timelines. While Meghalaya plans to replace the Meghalaya Transport Corporation buses with battery electric vehicles in a phased manner, Tamil Nadu State Transport Undertakings (STUs) strives to replace 5 percent of the buses as EVs every year and about 1,000 EV buses may be introduced every year. 

As per the JMK Research study, this is creating discordance in terms of the overall EV transition seen across the nation on an yearly basis. 

Targets for transition of government vehicles to EVs
This is also a key area with varying target benchmarks. Some states have set separate targets for the transition of vehicles owned by government agencies to electric. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have set a target to transition 100% of the vehicles owned by government agencies to EVs during their respective policy periods.

In Maharashtra, starting April 2023, all government and semi-government agencies will be purchasing only electric vehicles. Earlier, this was to be implemented from April 2022, but a resolution passed by the state’s Environment Department deferred it by a year. 

In Assam, EVs will be purchased by government agencies only after 2025. The Punjab EV policy targets 100 percent transition in a phased manner. There isn’t a defined time-period in the Bihar EV Policy while Delhi government, in February 2021, announced conversion of its entire fleet to electric within the next six months, however there is no clear indication of how much has been achieved over the defined period.

Charging stations a hurdle

Majority of the states/UTs in India have announced incentives for setting up charging stations but only a few of them have defined targets in terms of number of charging stations to be established by their respective policy periods. 

While Maharashtra has defined targets for just seven cities for a total of 2,375 charging stations, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have laid down targets for establishing 1,00,000 charging stations each by 2024 and 2026 respectively. This total number, however, is far below the estimated number of charging stations required – 20.5 lakh to support 5 crore EVs, that JMK research expects by 2030.

As a result, despite numerous states in India having designed EV policies and the central government having already announced demand and supply side incentives under the FAME scheme, there remains a lag in the desired outcomes.

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