“In India, there is a need of a political framework and a clear vision, which the current government has. But this vision is a bit loose,” Volkswagen Group company director Steffen Knapp said during a company celebration in Ahmedabad this week.
According to Knapp, India has to have a lot of electric vehicle (EV) subsidies if it wants to speed up its journey to becoming a largely EV nation.
“Because at the moment, it is not a business case for us to sell electric cars in India, same way it is not a business case for customers to buy electric cars. There is a need of a complete package,” said Knapp.
Citing Norway’s experience of electrification, Knapp said, “There are incentives for electric car customers such as dedicated lanes on the roads for electric cars and separate parking areas. They don’t have to pay for energy, besides they get subsidies.”
“In India, we will have to do some kind of a complete package (to incentivise electrification),” Knapp said.
Fortunately, India seems to be heading in that direction. The central government in August this year agreed to provide subsidies for all categories of electric vehicles — two, three, and four-wheelers — as part of the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme. The government had initially rolled out subsidies for electric buses only.
Meanwhile, this week saw a major development in the Indian EV ecosystem with the Kerala government announcing its EV policy, aimed at promoting electric buses and e-autorickshaws. Kerala, which has the highest literacy rates in the country — 93.91% according to the 2011 national census — plans to have 100% electric vehicles on its road by 2030.
Under the policy, people who choose to buy electric vehicles will be exempted from road taxes for the first three years. The state is also mulling building nearly 20 charging stations and 150 swapping stations in Trivandrum, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode.
Here’s a curated rundown of important and related developments on the EV Ecosystem in the 44th edition of Electric Vehicles This Week [October 04-10].
Latest News From Indian Electric Vehicle Ecosystem
Honda To Invest $1.2 Bn To Set Up EV Factory In Gujarat
Japanese automaker Honda plans to infuse $1.2 Bn (INR 9,200 Cr) to set up its third factory in India to produce hybrid and electric vehicles. This is the company’s largest investment in India so far and takes its total investment in the country to more than $2.4 Bn (INR 18,500 Cr) since it started operations here in 1998.
“India is one of the most critical markets for Honda globally, and we want to strengthen our operations here,” TOI cited Honda Cars India president & CEO Gaku Nakanishi as saying.
The company is reportedly acquiring 380 acres of land for the new factory, which will be set up in Gujarat. At present, Honda has two factories in Greater Noida and Rajasthan with an installed capacity of 2.8 lakh units.
Fae Bikes Launches E-Scooter Sharing Service in Bengaluru
A platform for renting of electric scooters was launched in three areas of Bengaluru by city-based startup Fae Bikes. The startup received a funding of $134K (INR 10 lakh) in April from the state’s IT & BT Department as part of the Grand Challenges Karnataka programme.
The service will operate with a fleet of 100 bikes in Electronics City, HSR Layout, and BTM Layout. The scooters can run up to 100 to 110 km per hour and will cost INR 3 for every kilometre.
“We have an app through which people can locate the scooters. They can book the scooters 15 minute before using it. They will then receive an OTP code to use the scooter,” Indian Express cited Fae Bikes co-founder Sameer Ranjan Jaiswal as saying.
Gemopai Launches Its First Electric Scooter In India
Gemopai Electric Scooters, a joint venture between Goreen E-Mobility and Opai Electric, has launched its first electric scooter Gemopai Ryder for the Indian market.
The new electric scooter can ply up to 70km on a single charge and comes in five colours. Gemopai is also mulling launching two more high-speed electric scooters within the next three to six months, Business Standard reported.
“We believe that the future will be driven by electric mobility, and we want to be at the forefront right here in India, where millions of people, every single day, have little access to technologically advanced clean energy vehicles,” Goreen E-Mobility co-founder Amit Raj Singh said.
CESC May Set Up EV Charging Stations In Kolkata
The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), a flagship company of the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, is considering a business model to set up electric charging stations in the city. If the project is found viable, the CESC may install about 150 e-charging stations within the licensed area of 567 km of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which includes Kolkata and certain parts of Howrah district.
“CESC is evaluating issues like the commercial viability, ensuring power round-the-clock, demand and feasibility in finding suitable location such charging stations,” TOI cited CESC managing director Debasish Banerjee as saying. The company is internally discussing the chances of finding suitable locations for the stations.
Maruti Suzuki Starts EV Road Testing In India
Automobile company Maruti Suzuki, a subsidiary of Japan-based Suzuki Motor Corporation, has reportedly started road testing its India-made electric vehicles prototype, which is expected to be launched by 2020. The vehicles were flagged off from Maruti’s facility in Gurugram.
At the MOVE global mobility summit in September, Suzuki Motor chairman Osamu Suzuki had unveiled plans for Maruti’s EV testing phases and also announced a nation-wide field testing of 50 prototype electric vehicles.
According to the company, these prototype models have been developed based on an existing model by Suzuki Corporation.
Latest News On Electric Cars From Around The World
Germany backs EU Climate Deal Over Car Lobby’s Protests
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed a hard-fought EU compromise deal for a 35% cut in car emissions by 2030, despite protests from her country’s own automakers, which said the target was unrealistic and pursuing it would cost jobs, Reuters reported.
“(There is) a revisions clause for 2021, since the question of how fast we can cut carbon dioxide emissions depends on the extent of market penetration by electric cars or other cars with alternative propulsion systems,” Merkel said. “Under these circumstances, I think the agreement is wholly defensible.”
The EU talks were lent added urgency by the publication of a UN report this week warning that time was running short for rapid and unprecedented global action needed to contain global warming.
South Korea’s SK Innovation To Build EV Battery Parts Plant In China
South Korea’s SK Innovation plans to invest $354 Mn to build a plant for key parts of electric car batteries in China, with construction expected to commence early next year in the southeastern city of Changzhou.
The factory is expected to start production in the second half of 2020, Reuters reported SK Innovation as saying. The plant will make separators for lithium-ion batteries and ceramic coating.
Daimler To Make EV Batteries In Alabama, US
German automotive corporation Daimler has announced that it will start building a battery plant as part of its planned $1 Bn investment to upgrade its factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the US.
“We aim to play a pioneering role in the development of e-mobility and are well-prepared to accomplish this mission,” Reuters cited Daimler board member Markus Schaefer as saying.
Daimler already has a battery manufacturing facility in Kamenz, Germany, and is building further plants in Beijing and Bangkok.
[Stay tuned for the next edition of Electric Vehicles This Week.]