Friday, June 21, 2024

Navigating the Electric Road: Neeraj Pathak’s thoughts on implementing EVs in Corporate Fleets

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India stands on the cusp of a monumental transformation in its automotive industry, poised to become a global leader in electric vehicles (EVs). The year 2023 marked a significant turning point, with EV sales soaring by an impressive 50%, reaching a remarkable 1.5 million units sold. This surge catapulted India’s EV market share to 6.38%, a substantial leap from 1.75% in 2021, signalling a burgeoning enthusiasm among buyers for sustainable transportation solutions. With ambitious goals to introduce over 2 million EVs into the market in 2024, India’s journey towards embracing electric mobility is firmly on track.

How India embracing electric vehicles?

In India, the electric vehicle (EV) industry is primarily driven by two- and three-wheelers, which collectively constituted 95% of total EV registrations in 2023. While national-level policies have garnered attention, state-level initiatives also play a significant role in promoting EV uptake, often complementing central policies.

As the number of EVs on the road continues to rise, the development of robust EV charging infrastructure becomes imperative. The initial phase of the FAME initiative cantered around four key areas: stimulating demand, advancing technology, piloting experimental trials in specific cities, and enhancing charging infrastructure. FAME II, on the other hand, is primarily geared towards bolstering the electrification of public and shared transportation. This program entails the creation of charging infrastructure, with the Department of Heavy Industry approving 2,636 EV charging stations (equating to around INR 500 crore) spread across 24 States/UTs and encompassing 62 cities, including metros, other major urban centres, smart cities, and towns in mountainous regions. The objective is to ensure that there is at least one charging station within a 3 km x 3 km grid throughout these areas. (This will be a biggest turning point and create positive environment overall as anticipated)

While the national government is crafting various initiatives, state governments are also implementing policies to promote EV adoption and production. These efforts encompass five main categories: supply support, demand boosting, workforce initiatives, R&D, and charging infrastructure enhancements. Most states have implemented all or a combination of these measures. Many states aim to bolster domestic EV manufacturing and foster a robust EV ecosystem in India. Efforts include incentives for charging infrastructure, consumer demand subsidies, waivers on registration fees and road taxes, capital subsidies for charging infrastructure, and interest subsidies for significant investments.

According to the Ministry of Heavy Industry (MHI), Maharashtra leads with the highest number of EV charging stations at 3,079. From 2019 to December 2023, Maharashtra registered 3.74 lakh EVs, second only to Uttar Pradesh’s 5.94 lakh EVs. Delhi follows with 1,886 charging stations, while Uttar Pradesh, with 582 stations, has 928 EVs per station, highlighting the need for infrastructure expansion.

In comparison to leading EV markets such as the UK or China, where there are approximately 20 EVs per charging station or fewer, India still has a considerable gap to bridge. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) emphasizes that the requirements for charging infrastructure hinge on various factors, including the composition of EVs, their usage patterns, geographical terrain, and technological advancements in EVs and charging equipment.

Nevertheless, the Indian government is steadfast in its efforts to accelerate the deployment of public EV charging infrastructure across the nation. Initiatives such as issuing guidelines and standards for charging infrastructure, first introduced in January 2022 and subsequently amended in November 2022 and April 2023, aim to establish a framework for the seamless integration of EV charging stations into the urban landscape. Additionally, the notification of the Green Energy Open Access Rules in 2022 seeks to expedite the adoption of renewable energy sources, ensuring access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable power for EV charging.

Furthermore, the “GO ELECTRIC” campaign, launched by the Ministry of Power in February 2021, plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about the benefits of EVs, EV charging infrastructure, and electric cooking across India. By fostering public understanding and acceptance of electric mobility solutions, the campaign catalyses the transition towards a greener, cleaner transportation ecosystem.

Despite these commendable initiatives, there remains a pressing need for concerted efforts to fortify India’s EV charging infrastructure. Collaboration among various stakeholders is essential to standardize charging protocols, streamline regulatory frameworks, and expedite the proliferation of charging stations nationwide. Integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into the EV charging network not only reduces carbon emissions but also enhances the sustainability of electric transportation.

How government can help to increase the EV adoption?

Continue public awareness campaigns to educate and empower individuals about EV adoption.

Familiarize the public with the convenience of EV charging.

Demystify misconceptions and address concerns about range anxiety and charging accessibility.

Foster a culture of electric mobility across geographical and socio-economic barriers in India.

Enhance India’s EV industry and supply chain by leveraging connections between industrial and investment policies.

Expedite India’s embrace of EVs to achieve low carbon emissions.

Support the transition towards a net-zero future.

In conclusion, India’s journey towards electrification holds immense promise for shaping a sustainable and electrified transportation future. With concerted efforts to bolster EV charging infrastructure, coupled with stakeholder collaboration, policy support, and public awareness campaigns, India is poised to emerge as a beacon of innovation and leadership in the global EV landscape. By laying the groundwork for a robust and accessible charging network, India can accelerate its transition towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable automotive ecosystem for generations to come.

Currently, many multinational corporations (MNCs) are investing in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure for employee transportation. However, the challenge of charging infrastructure is a significant obstacle to implementing these initiatives in corporate settings.

About the Author: Neeraj Pathak is an industry veteran with 20 years of experience in corporate transportation management. He currently serves as the Transportation & Logistics Head at a leading IT multinational corporation, where he leverages his extensive expertise to optimize and streamline transportation and logistics operations.

The post Navigating the Electric Road: Neeraj Pathak’s thoughts on implementing EVs in Corporate Fleets appeared first on Borok Times.

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