Consistent EV adoption targets are key for a faster transition in India
A recent notification from the Ministry of Road Transport indicates that the adoption of electric vehicles in the country has tripled over the past year. However, is it enough? Well, a recent study by JMK Research, “Accelerating Transport Electrification in India by 2030”, indicates that targets and incentives in all state EV policies should be consistent with projections and incentives countries in terms of EV sales.
Although nearly 19 states have rolled out their EV policies in the past three to four years and a few more in the draft stage, there is a significant disconnect between national and state level projections. Although national EV sales projections are expressed in percentage and absolute numbers, the goal for all states combined is not homologous. This is where the anomaly lies according to the JMK Research study. This is either a percentage of all new vehicle registrations or an absolute number for the respective states. For a more coordinated and synchronous outcome, the research reiterates the need for these state goals to complement national forecasts.
While NITI Aayog has explicit goals for different vehicle categories, only a few states/UTs have declared similar goals so far. Some states and UTs, including Maharashtra, Chandigarh, Punjab and Karnataka, have set separate targets for each category of vehicles, including two-, three- and four-wheelers.
Electric bus fleet targets another area of concern
It’s no secret that shared mobility, especially the state-run fleet of buses, is seen as a major protagonist in the transition to electric mobility in all states. Different states have set goals in terms of the percentage of their bus fleet to convert to electric vehicles by a set target year.
But there are states like Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that have not explicitly stated their public transport targets in terms of percentage conversion or strict deadlines. As Meghalaya plans to gradually replace Meghalaya Transport Corporation buses with battery electric vehicles, Tamil Nadu State Transport Companies (STU) are working to replace 5% of buses as electric vehicles every year and about 1,000 electric buses could be introduced each year.
According to the JMK Research study, this creates a mismatch in terms of the overall EV transition seen across the country on a yearly basis.
Targets for the transition of government vehicles to electric vehicles
This is also a key area with varying benchmarks. Some states have set separate goals for transitioning government-owned vehicles to electric. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have set targets to convert 100% of vehicles owned by government agencies to electric vehicles within their respective policy periods.
In Maharashtra, from April 2023, all government and semi-government agencies will purchase electric vehicles only. Previously, this was to be implemented from April 2022, but a resolution passed by the state’s environmental department postponed it for a year.
In Assam, EVs will only be purchased by government agencies after 2025. Punjab’s EV policy aims for a 100% transition in a phased manner. There is no set period in the Bihar EV policy while the Delhi government in February 2021 announced the conversion of its entire fleet to electric in the next six months but it does not There is no clear indication of what has been achieved during the defined period.
Charging stations an obstacle
Majority of States/UTs in India have announced incentives for setting up charging stations but only few of them have set targets in terms of number of charging stations to be established by their respective policy periods .
While Maharashtra has set targets for just seven cities for a total of 2,375 charging stations, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have set 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 needed – 20.5 lakh to support 5 crore EVs, which JMK research predicts by 2030.
As a result, although many Indian states have designed policies for electric vehicles and the central government has already announced demand and supply side incentives under the FAME scheme, there is still a lag in the desired outcomes.