Electric vehicle industry in India

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Electric Scooter displayed at Auto Expo, Delhi, INDIA.
Electric Scooter at AUTO EXPO 2020

India unveiled the 'National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020' in 2013 to address the issues of National energy security, vehicular pollution and growth of domestic manufacturing capabilities.[1][2] Reiterating its commitment to the Paris Agreement, the Government of India has plans to make a major shift to electric vehicles by 2030.[3][4][5] E-commerce companies, Indian car manufacturers like Reva Electric Car Company, and Indian app-based transportation network companies like Ola are working on making electric cars more common over the next two decades.[when?][6][7]

Government policies[edit]

Central government[edit]

Recently,[when?] the Government released a two-pronged strategy aimed at both buyers and manufacturers, in which it offers $1.4 billion in subsidies to buyers while imposing a hike on import tariffs to increase manufacturing of these vehicles by domestic companies.[8] The Government is mainly focusing to electrify public transportation as the subsidies, mainly available for two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and buses. This policy also earmarks $140 million to develop charging infrastructure which should further help the development of the EV industry in India.[8] On 14 December 2018, the government also released a document which outlines the standard and guidelines for EV Charging infrastructure. Beyond the specifications of the charging infrastructure, the guidelines also required a charging station to be present every 25 km along a road/highway.[9]

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is procuring 10,000 nos. of Electric Vehicles from reputed manufacturers for distribution to Government Departments on rental model and upfront sale model. EESL's tender of 10,000 nos. of EV's has reduced the cost of EV's substantially.

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020[edit]

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 was launched by the Government of India in 2020 with the aim of improving the national fiel security through the promotion of hybrid and electric vehicles.[10]

Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME)[edit]

The Government started Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme which provides incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.[11] Phase I of the scheme lasted from 2015 to 2019,[12] while Phase II began in 20019 and is planned to be comppleted in 2022.[13][14]

Government is releasing tenders to increase charging infrastructure in the country.[15] The scheme offers incentives to the electric and hybrid vehicles ranging from Rs.1,800 to Rs.29,000 for scooters and motorcycles and Rs.1.38 Lac for cars. FAME is a part of National Electric Mobility Mission Plan by Government of India.[16]

Delhi[edit]

The Delhi Government recently approved 1000 Electric buses to be used in Delhi’s public transport system.[17]

Karnataka[edit]

Karnataka approved Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy 2017.[18]

Maharashtra[edit]

The Maharashtra Government is focusing on increasing EV use in the state by proposing to exempt EV’s from road tax and providing a 15% subsidy to the first lakh EV’s registered in the state. To improve suitable infrastructure, the government proposed to provide a maximum subsidy of Rs. 1 million (~$15,549) per charging station to the first 250 stations that are set up in Maharashtra.[19]

Uttarakhand[edit]

In 2018, the Uttrakhand Government introduced a new scheme to help the manufacturing and promote the use of EV’s as well.[20] The scheme would provide companies with loans ranging between Rs 10 crore and Rs 50 crore to build EV's and charging infrastructure. The scheme also doesn't charge motor tax for first lakh customers of EV’s for five years.

Regulatory framework[edit]

Charging[edit]

AC charging[edit]

IS:17017 specifies Bharat EV Charging standard AC001. It uses 15A, 230V, 3.3kW, and an IEC 60309 connector.

Electric vehicles can be charged using a regular 220V 15A household supply that delivers around 2.5kW power. There is no policy or standard defined for at-home EV charging. Bharat EV specifications recommend the installation of a Residual Current Circuit Breaker to ensure safety and using an IEC 60309 Industrial connector, but a 3-pin 15A plug could also be used.[21]

For higher power AC charging (~22kW), Type 2 connectors are specified.[22] The advantage of Type 2 connectors is that they can use three phase AC power for charging.

DC charging[edit]

The public DC Charging Standard is DC 001. It uses custom GB/T for EV-EVSE communication over CAN mode.[21] It uses 200A, 15kW, and a GB/T 20234 connector.

The IS:17017-1 published by BIS in August 2018 recommends CCS-2 (Combined Charging System) and CHAdeMO protocols for high power fast charging.[21][23]

The advantage of CCS over CHAdeMO and GB/T is that it uses Power Line Carrier Communications (PLCC) for EV-EVSE communication while CHAdeMO and GB/T use CAN. PLC allows secure communication using encrypted messages and the link can support higher data-rate as compared to that by CAN.[24]

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)[edit]

The IS:17017 standard published by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) covers general requirements and safety norms for EVSEs.[21]

Central Management System (CMS)[edit]

The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) 1.5 or higher over the internet is to be used.[25]

Benefits of electric vehicles[edit]

  • Electric vehicles are around 3-5 times more efficient than internal combustion vehicles in utilising energy. Even if electric vehicles run on electricity produced from fossil fuels, the overall efficiency of electric vehicles is still higher and the pollution is less, because large thermal power plants are much more efficient than IC engines, and it is easier to control emissions from power plants than vehicle engines.
  • Electric vehicles save energy by regenerative braking. Around 30-60% of the energy used for propulsion can be recovered, with higher percentages applicable to stop-and-go city driving.
  • Air quality indices related to India[26][27][28] indicate that the air in many cities of India is no longer healthy. Automobile related pollution has been one of the causes for this.
  • Aspects related to global warming needs a shift to automobile solutions that reduce / do not produce greenhouse gas emissions. If electric vehicles run on electricity produced from non-polluting sources of energy like hydro, solar, wind, tidal and nuclear, they reduce emissions due to vehicles almost to zero.
  • The need to reduce dependency on a fossil-fuel based economy. India's crude oil imports for 2014-15 was 112 billion dollars[29] (approximately 7,00,000 crore rupees). For comparison, the allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, in budget 2017-18, is 48,000 crore rupees.[30]
  • India can become a global provider for clean mobility solutions and processes that are affordable and scalable.
  • People living in some Indian cities are being affected by noise pollution.[31] Some of the Indian cities have the worst noise pollution levels in the world.[32][33] Electric vehicles are much quieter and may contribute to a reduction in noise pollution levels in the cities.[34]
  • Energy efficiency and emission reduction has improved in automobiles. Yet, the growth in total number of vehicles on road, and the resulting total pollution and total energy consumption removed all gains made by betterment in energy efficiency and emission reduction by automobiles. Energy efficiency measures and pollution control measures did not keep pace with the sales growth in vehicles. The total number of vehicles registered in India has been 5.4 million,[35] 11 million,[36] 33 million,[36] 40 million[37] and 210 million[35] in the years 1981, 1986, 1996, 2000 and 2015. This indicates a 3500+ percentage growth in the total number of vehicles between 1981 and 2015. The total number of vehicles sold in India increased between 1,54,81,381 in 2010-11 and 2,04,69,385 in 2015-16 [38] indicating a 30+ percentage growth in this five year period.
  • Through smart charging, electric vehicles can help to balance the balance-supply variations in the electricity grid, and provide a buffer against electricity supply failures.

Challenges faced[edit]

Lack of charging infrastructure[edit]

Cumulative electric vehicles per million people

The charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in India has not been fully developed yet. For more details, see the section 'Charging Infrastructure' below.

Cost[edit]

The cost of EVs is very high mainly due to the cost of Li-ion cells. The battery packs are imported and cost a lot, about $275/KWh in India. This combined with the GST of 28% and the lack of lithium in India, further increase the cost of batteries. Most EVs in India provide a range of 110 km and cost between Rs 6-8 lakhs which does not give a cost advantage compared to higher range cars in the same price range.[39]

Lack of renewable energy and grid infrastructure[edit]

In India electricity is mainly produced by burning coal, which produces a great amount of greenhouse emissions. With the introduction of EVs and charging infrastructure, the electricity demand will go up a lot and the whole point of introducing EVs to reduce GHG emissions would be ineffective, if all this electricity was produced by burning coal. Moreover, India’s Distribution companies hold debts and are unable to suffice the energy requirement of the whole country adequately. If EVs were to enter this equation, the sudden increase in electricity requirement would put extra load on these companies. Moreover, there are a lot of factors that would go into deciding pricing of the electricity as well the demand on the grid.[40]

Charging infrastructure[edit]

The Government of India has declared public charging stations and EV charging businesses as a de-licensed activity.[41][42] The government has laid down that there should be at least one charging station in a grid of 3km x 3km in cities and one station every 25 Km on both sides of highways. This coverage is to be achieved in cities with a population of more than 4 million and all existing expressways and important highways connected to these mega-cities by 2022. The second phase (3-5 years) will cover big cities like state capitals and UT headquarters.[43]

There have been initiatives to set up community charging stations, as in the case of Plugin India facilitated charging stations.[44] News reports have indicated about plans to provide solar-powered charging points at the existing fuel stations of the country.[45][46][47]

There are companies like Tata Power , Fortum and others which are engaged in the business of electric vehicle charging. They have already installed all varieties of chargers - rapid DC chargers and level 2 AC chargers for all kinds of applications - public access, workplace charging, fleet charging, residential communities, malls, highways etc and have large plans to scale up.

Charging infrastructure, mainly setting up of level 2 charging at public level shall be the toughest challenge in terms of service integration for India. For normal charging, the charging time poses a serious problem as it ranges from 6 to 8 hours whereas for fast DC charging; cost & high renewable energy are the biggest factors which could pose a problem. It is also assumed that 10% of the charging infrastructure required in India shall be composed of fast charging station and rest 90% shall come from level 2 public charging setups.[48]

On 22 May 2018 Ather Energy launched its charging infrastructure service in Bangalore called Ather Grid, with each charging station called 'Point'. The service is open to all electric vehicles but has been deployed where Ather plans to launch its own electric scooter.[49]

Industry associations[edit]

Electric vehicle manufacturers in India/manufacturers of electric vehicles launched in India[edit]

Fully electric cars[edit]

Solar panels in the roof of Reva NXR concept car

The electric cars available in India are :

  • Hyundai Kona Electric[50]
  • Mahindra e-Verito[51]
  • Mahindra e2o
  • MG ZS EV
  • Tata Tigor EV 2019 (Only for Commercial purposes)[52]
  • Tata Nexon EV 2020

ISRO has tested a solar-powered hybrid car - modified Maruti Omni with a solar panel platform installed on top of the car. The installation of this solar platform on the car has been rated "awful" for its design.[53] The Hyundai Kona electric has the highest range of 452(as per ARAI) km in a single charge among the electric cars available in India.

Motorcycles[edit]

The following companies have launched electric motorcycles in India:

Scooters[edit]

Buses[edit]

Electric buses in Bangalore by BMTC

India's first electric bus was launched in Bangalore in 2014.[63]

Ashok Leyland launched its electric bus in October 2016.[64]

Tata Motors launched its pure electric bus ‘Starbus Electric 9m’ and hybrid ‘StarBus Electric 12m’ in January 2017.[65]

Goldstone Infratech supplied Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation with 25 electric buses in September 2017.[66]

25 Tata Starbus Hybrid electric buses were delivered in Maharashtra in March 2018.[citation needed]

India's 1 st intercity electric bus is inaugurated on 5 September which is operated between mumbai and pune by MSRTC[67]

November 2019, 133 Electric buses have been deployed across Pune city in the first phase of its e-bus programme.

Mini pick up trucks[edit]

The following companies have launched electric pick up trucks in India:

Heavy duty trucks, semi-trailer and tractor trucks[edit]

A Gurgaon based company, Infraprime Logistics Technologies Pvt. Ltd. launched first heavy duty truck (tractor-tipper-trailer combination) in India in Sep 2019.[71]

No other case of manufacturing and use of electric heavy duty trucks, semi-trailers or tractor trucks in India has been reported.

Rickshaws[edit]

Electric auto rickshaw in Siliguri

A Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Parliament in 2015, which established battery-powered e-rickshaws as a valid form of commercial transport in India.[72] With their small size and small turning radius, E-rickshaw is already a popular mode of transport in Delhi-NCR, particularly in small lanes and congested areas.

The following companies have launched electric auto rickshaws in India:

Railways[edit]

Electric tram in Kolkata, 1945

Indian Railways has a long history of electric locomotives, with their first use in 1925. On 31 March 2017, government announced that the entire rail network in the country will be electrified by 2022.[75] Indian Railways has successfully tested solar-panel mounted trains.[76][77] Power generated from these solar panels will be used for the lights and fans inside the train.[78]

Solar-electric boat[edit]

Conversion of old vehicles in to battery vehicles[edit]

  • E-trio Automobiles for Maruti Alto and Maruti Wagon R[79]

Hybrid cars[edit]

Hybrid cars are available in various types depending upon its combination of power supply form battery and petrol.[80] Below are some of the hybrid cars available in India:[81]

Mobility solution providers[edit]

In 2015, Bangalore based Lithium Technologies launched a fully electric taxi service for corporates.[82] In June 2017, Bangalore based logistic group Baghirathi Travel Solutions is one of the EV fleet Transport company.[83]

In January 2019, Blu-Smart mobility launched all-electric cab service in Delhi-NCR with a fleet of 70 Mahindra eVerito cars. It has plans of expansion to 400 cars by March 2019. Also, it has planned to set up a massive charging infrastructure comprising 65 stations. Each station will have the capacity to charge up to 20 vehicles at a time, with 20 charging points. The company has also ensured there will be a charging station within every five kilometer of radius. The company also has plans for Tata Tigor electric, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Tesla 3 in their fleet. So far the company is running only 10 cars in Delhi NCR and not a single charging station has been installed. The promoters do not intent to increase number of fleets post automobile industry's massive losses that has hit market as well as production values. [84] The company raised funding from Deepika Padukone (Ka Enterprises), Micromax co-founder Rajesh Agarwal, Sanjiv Bajaj (Bajaj Capital MD), Rajat Gupta (former Global MD McKinsey) and Rohit Chanana (Ex-President Strategy, Hero Corporate Services) and various other VC firms.[85][86]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]