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The State government is planning to take the lead in the country by launching one lakh Electric Vehicles (EVs) which is expected to create over 1.05 lakh jobs. The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has agreed to invest Rs. 2,000 crore per year for one lakh e-cars.

According to a press release by the State Energy Conservation Mission CEO A. Chandra Sekhar Reddy, the EV project is aimed at transforming the State into the country’s electric mobility hub. It is estimated that the driving cost (electricity only) of electric vehicles is Rs. 0.89 per km against Rs. 4.40 per km for conventional (fuel) vehicles.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has directed the Energy Department to prepare a comprehensive action plan to lease and use the one lakh EVs in a phased manner. The idea was to make all government departments to use EVs and expand it to the private sector later.

Energy Minister Kala Venkata Rao told the Energy Department to take steps for rolling out the project over the next couple of years.

Principal Secretary (energy) informed the CM that a meeting with EV and battery manufacturers, technology providers and government departments would be conducted in the 3rd week of March to work out the modalities. Since the energy source is cleaner and cheaper than oil even when the electricity comes from coal-dominated grid, priority is being given to EV as the preferred mode of transport.

Lobby group Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) plans to meet top government officials to seek clarity on the government’s position on electric vehicles, days after roads minister Nitin Gadkari said there was no need for such a policy.

The lobby group plans to meet NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant and heavy industries minister Anant Geete next week, said a senior executive of one of the members of SMEV.

Subsequently, SMEV plans to write to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) based on the feedback of the meetings with Kant and Geete, said two people aware of the matter.

SMEV represents companies such as Hero Electric, Okinawa Scooters, Mahindra and Mahindra and Tata Motors.

Gadkari, in a press conference on 16 February, said that the government will not formulate an electric vehicle policy and no further incentives will be accorded to the industry other than the existing ones.

This was a U-turn from the Union government’s erstwhile stance on sustainable mobility solutions.

“We have sought a meeting with Anant Geete and Amitabh Kant in the coming week to understand the government’s position on electric vehicles. Globally, a policy direction has been given by governments in order to make these vehicles affordable and sustainable for customers,” said a senior official at SMEV, requesting anonymity.

According to the industry body, the current subsidy on electric two-wheelers—up to Rs22,000—is not significant enough to lure buyers and the government should spend the entire amount allocated for giving subsidy over two or three years rather than five or six years in order to put electric vehicles and internal combustion engine-based vehicles on the same footing in terms of price.

“We need the second part of the FAME (subsidy) scheme to be implemented immediately from 2 April and if existing version of the FAME scheme continues then that would be meaningless. SMEV thinks that electric is the way forward and not hybrid and the government should focus on promoting electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers along with public transport buses in the next few years,” said the official mentioned above.

A day after Gadkari announced that there will be no specific policy framework on electric vehicles, the ministry of heavy industries issued a press release saying, “Department of Heavy Industry is working for formulating the National Automotive Policy for holistic development of automobile sector in India.”

Though the draft policy proposes to adopt a long-term road map for emission standards beyond BS 6 and harmonise the same with global standards, it does not make any mention of electric vehicles or any form of sustainable mobility solutions for the future.

According to a spokesperson of Ford Motor India Pvt. Ltd, manufacturers need to know the government’s mid-long term view to make critical future investment decisions. For example, until goods and services tax (GST) was introduced, hybrid vehicles were given importance and incentives, something that does not exist today.

“Taking electric vehicles from 0.1% to 100% is an arduous task, and require government commitment and clarity on the availability of charging infrastructure, investment and incentives guidelines and the role/stand of state governments on EVs v/s Hybrids & other technologies.” added a company spokesperson.

According to Mahindra Electric chief executive Mahesh Babu, the country’s largest electric vehicle maker is not expecting any additional policy push.

“We would, however, recommend that the current support under FAME and special tax structure for EVs continues for at least the next two years,” Babu said.

“NITI Aayog has also released reports on standards and policies around charging. Existing schemes are being implemented on ground and the resultant increase in EV adoption should start showing in the next one or two year time frame,” added Babu.

The government’s U-turn on electric vehicle policy is likely to benefit automobile manufacturers that have not developed electric vehicles.

“We wish that taxation policy is calibrated towards encouraging a technology-agnostic approach which would reduce pollution, reduce India’s oil import bills and encourage volume growth in the auto sector both of mass market cars and luxury vehicles. This will, in turn, lead to growth in employment where automobile sector is a big contributor,” said Shekar Viswanathan, vice-chairman and whole-time director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd.

Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy, R K Singh today launched the National E-Mobility Programme in India. In line with the Government of India’s vision of 100% e-mobility by 2030, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) will issue a fresh tender for additional 10,000 e-vehicles, the Minister announced, according to a media statement.

EESL concluded the first tender for procuring 10,000 e-vehicles last year. Following the successful completion of the first tender, EESL envisions a growing demand from various government departments.

The new tender for 10,000 e-vehicles will cater to this growing demand. With these 20,000 electric cars, India is expected to save over 5 crore litres of fuel every year leading to a reduction of over 5.6 lakh tonnes of annual CO2 emission.

R K Singh, Minister of State for Power, New and Renewable Energy, said, “India has embarked on an ambitious e-mobility plan and the government has taken the leadership in enabling e-mobility in India. The National E-Mobility Programme is a step towards ushering in an era of clean, green and future-oriented technologies in the country.”

“After the successful tender of 10,000 electric cars last year, the demand for e-vehicles is constantly rising across various departments of the Union and State Governments. To cater to the growing demand, EESL will issue a fresh tender tomorrow for procuring additional 10,000 electric cars. This second tender is a testimony to the fact that India offers a huge market potential for e-mobility” he added.

Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Power, said, “E-mobility is a critical aspect of overall achievement of Energy Efficiency and the Government of India is committed towards it. The launch today is a step towards reducing our carbon footprint and promise towards a more sustainable, greener, cleaner future. Adoption of EVs has given India an opportunity to bring together a holistic plan which marries “Make in India” Initiative to promote indigenous production of e- vehicles and create a booming market for ancillary industries.”

“EESL has always been at the forefront of India’s energy efficiency and green initiatives. We are committed to transform the Indian market with innovative business models and advanced technologies. We are confident that we will replicate the success of our previous path-breaking initiatives in our e-mobility programme. We will continue to enable more energy and fuel savings by creating a robust market for e-mobility in India,” Rajeev Sharma, Chairman, EESL said.

The objective of the National E-Mobility Programme is to provide an impetus to the entire e-mobility ecosystem including vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, fleet operators, service providers.

EESL will aggregate demand by procuring electric vehicles in bulk to get economies of scale. These electric vehicles will replace the existing fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles.

EESL plans to leverage efficiencies of scale and drive down costs through its innovative business model while supporting local manufacturing facilities, gaining technical competencies for the long-term growth of the EV industry and enabling Indian EV manufacturers to emerge as major global players.

“Under the Government of India’s Street Light National Programme (SLNP), EESL has replaced 50 lakh conventional street lights across the country with energy-efficient LED lights. This is the largest installation anywhere in the world illuminating around 84 thousand kilometers of roads, with no upfront investment required from municipal bodies. The newly installed lights have led to brighter streets, feeling of enhanced safety and security among the residents and motorists. This has led to energy saving of 135 crore kWh and cost saving of INR 742 crores every year,” remarked Singh.

The procurement price of the LED Street Lights has been reduced from Rs. 135/watt to Rs. 70/watt due to mass procurement of the lights by EESL, hence making the LED lights affordable and accessible. EESL makes the entire upfront investment in retrofitting of the Street Lights and up to 10% of Infrastructure development charges and then Municipalities pay EESL from the savings in energy and maintenance cost over a 7-year period.

EESL procurements conform to BIS specification and carry a 7-year warranty against technical defects. EESL conducts appropriate quality checks right from the bidding stage to the field level. This has resulted in the LEDs’ overall technical fault being less than 2% in the 50 lakh lights installed by EESL in the country. EESL has maintained an uptime of 97% for all street lights across the country.

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