The country’s electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem is still struggling to move away from its ‘nascent stage’ tag despite all the efforts undertaken by the government via the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) II Scheme that was essentially aimed at accelerating the adoption of EVs across the country. The Rs 10,000 crore government support offered under the FAME II scheme over a three-year period (April 1, 2019 to April 1, 2022) is designed to support 10 lakh electric two-wheelers, 5 lakh three-wheelers, 55,000 four-wheelers, and 7,000 electric buses. The first year of the FAME II scheme did not quite yield the desired results and the outbreak of COVID-19 has thrown up doubts about how the FAME II scheme will pan out going forward. There are reservations whether the pandemic will serve as roadblocks in EVs taking off.
In an exclusive chat with Auto Tech Review, Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), said the prevailing times are exceedingly challenging for the entire demand supply chain. “The exact economic impact of the coronavirus is unknown not just in the Indian context, but also at the global level and the new term ‘social distancing’ could have an impact on shared mobility for a long time,” Kumar observed.
The FAME II scheme has attracted a lot of flak, but Kumar insists there was no delay on the part of the government in the implementation of the scheme. “Look, the finance bill was passed around September last year, which means technically speaking the five-month period of actual work in the policy is actually a good start for EV adoption in the country,” he observed.
However, the EESL MD agrees that some amount of tinkering can be done with the FAME II scheme. “There is scope for the FAME II scheme to incorporate the personal four-wheeler segment. The country's EV car market currently has some models such as Hyundai Kona, MG ZS EV, Tata Nexon EV, Mahindra e-Verito, etc and this should be a strong enough case to bring personal cars under the FAME II scheme,” he opined.
Of course, the one thing EVs require is greater consumer awareness. “The onus of creating consumer EV awareness lies not just with the government but with various industry stakeholders. Owning an EV not only brings operating costs down, but also drives benefits to the society, in terms of cleaner air and noise pollution and this must be ingrained in the mind of consumers,” he noted.
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has drawn up plans to set up as many as 2,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the country in the current year (FY2020-21). The joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power, EESL has acquired the said project in order to boost the e-mobility ecosystem in the country. "We have installed 300+ such charging stations across India. Out of the 2,000 EV charging stations, EESL has plans to install around 500 charging stations in the current fiscal in the Delhi-NCR region," said Kumar.
The company has forged tie-ups with numerous private and public brands like Apollo Hospitals, BSNL, Maha-Metro, BHEL, HPCL and more for the setting up of public charging infrastructure. Moreover, EESL has joined hands with urban local bodies in Hyderabad, Noida, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Chennai and is currently engaged in talks with others to install such infrastructure. The availability of land - a prime capital requirements to set up EV charging infrastructure is now being provided free of cost by most municipal bodies or firms for public chargers to EESL.