How Government Can Accelerate Indian EV Commercial Fleet?

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EV charging is quite a kingpin in the EV ecosystem. It is one of the highest challenges in the adoption of EVs in the market. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) recently rolled out its policy paper aspiring to the Indian EV value chain. It has many prominent consensus-based policy recommendations to expedite the adoption of EVs nationwide. It focuses on the vital hurdles in the commercial fleet electrification and exclusive to some categories of EV charging and battery swapping scenarios in India. And this paper also aims to establish a handshake between policymakers and businesses. The charging infra is the vital factor in this evolution, thus this read will focus on the various aspects of battery charging landscapes and covers several recommendations to catalyze the process.

Courtesy: WBCSD

Quick Confab!

Volvo Cars-Harris unfolded the fact that robust charging infra is one of the most important doers in the EV ecosystem, thus the establishment of an accessible and affordable network in India is a race for the electrification of transportation. From delicensing of EV charging infra by Ministry of Power (MoP) provided 20% reservation of parking for charging to acknowledge battery swapping customs, Indian central and the state government has made sound progress on regulations and initiatives towards the shore. There are various recommendations on the policies that would accelerate the rate of EV adoption

Private Charging Investments

The lack of market rules in the set-up of responsibilities for every niche is the battle in the EV charging infrastructure. As to foresee a long-term solution, transferring the entire burden to Charging point operator/Battery swapping operators or fleet operators will be detrimental in transition.

The policy paper recommends some key takes. DISCOMs should define SLAs and sufficient time for grid up-gradation and MoP could also explore new models for the upgrades. The Low Tension (LT) could be increased to 200Kw for EV Charging via sanctions from various central/state institutions. Or MoP should consider providing funds to DISCOMS for large-scale installations.

Battery Swapping in FAME subsidy

FY20 had a significant sale of 2W and3W that holds the 85% of total domestic vehicle purchases in India. Rapid charging has revolutionized the traditional 2W and 3W market to its electrification. But for commercial fleets, it impedes an issue of drive break time. Battery Swapping is an attractive high-demand solution for refueling your EVs. In Taiwan, battery swapping (BS) has a great market amongst the netizens. By incentivizing battery swapping, the precursor could recharge its vehicles in no time.

Taiwan has a great network of Battery Swapping.

The DHI should facilitate cabinet amendments to the FAME II scheme to include battery swapping subsidy for swappable batteries and could continue to remain at INR 10,000 (USD $138) per kWh, the same as for fixed batteries in conventional EVs”, recommendations in the paper. It also suggests including battery swapping as a mode of charging in State policies as well.

GST Brackets

The current GST applicable on EVs and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) is 5%. In addition, GST applicable on services such as ride-hailing is 5%.3”, the policy paper says. For an early adoption of EVs, the GST on EV charging and Battery Swapping can also be reduced to 5%. The rationale lies in the fact that 2/3W EVs may need to swap for two-three times or full charge it 1-2 times a day that requires a significant cost by the users. The paper fairly recommends reducing GST brackets to 5% for the same through the Ministry of Finance in India.

All-In-All

Despite many initiatives led by the Indian government, the EV adoption yet feels like a slow tortoise! The recommendations in the policy paper in 2021 by WBCSD have given another window to restructure the Indian policy framework. The future of the EVs commercial fleet looks dynamic in India. And starting on the development of EV charging infrastructure could develop an early and smooth transition in the adoption.

Prioritizing the commercial fleet segment will secure the biggest and fastest impact, owing to high vehicle utilization and resulting economic viability. Capturing these low hanging opportunities immediately through policy interventions can both catalyze high impact EV uptake and pave the way forward”

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