Mumbai In its recent budget, the Maharashtra government gave a major boost to electric mobility with the proposal to roll out 5,000 new electric vehicle charging stations over the next three years. This is to support the growing number of electric vehicle purchases in Maharashtra, which surged after the rollout of the state’s electric vehicle policy last year.
In Mumbai alone, at least 24,215 EVs were purchased after the policy’s enactment, compared to just 7,400 EVs purchased in 2019-20 and 9,461 EVs in 2020-21.
At the city level, the annual budget of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allocated ₹415.7 crore (in its revised budget estimate for the financial year 2021-22) and ₹1460.3 crore (its budget estimate for the financial year 2022-23) for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), for the general public as well as for its departmental vehicle fleet.
Although City Commissioner Iqbal Chahal did not reveal the number, he announced that the BMC would switch to using small-capacity electric vehicles (with a payload of about 600 kg each) for waste collection. . The above budget will also be used to set up 100 electric vehicle charging stations in Mumbai over the next year, which experts say is crucial for the success of Maharashtra’s 2021 EV policy notified l ‘last year.
“To encourage consumers to make the decision to buy an electric vehicle, many other small parts need to be in place. The widespread availability of charging stations or battery swapping stations is essential. If the public charging station the nearest one is a 15-minute drive from my house, but the nearest gas pump is five minutes away, that will influence my decision,” said Promit Mukherjee, associate researcher, Observer Research Foundation, specializing in mobility sustainable.
Mukherjee and other experts said charging infrastructure is the impetus that can lead to the overall success or failure of the state’s ambitious electric vehicle policy. “If you take a closer look, spending is done in three main areas. First, supply-side incentives, for manufacturers or entrepreneurs who wish to set up electric vehicle charging stations on a commercial basis. Second, demand-side incentives, which will attract consumers. The third element is charging stations, which is crucial as the success of demand and supply incentives will heavily depend on their availability,” Mukherjee said.
Simply put, without enough places to charge EVs, consumers are unlikely to buy them, making it imperative that the state and city consider this particular component of EV policy to be on par with subsidies. for manufacturers and buyers. “But as it stands, there is currently a lack of electric vehicle charging stations across the state, especially in major cities where they are most needed. And politics also leaves a fair amount of uncertainty around that aspect,” Mukherjee said.
“EV policies in India have generally been quite demanding, and it only works to a certain extent. At the national level, if you look at the Centre’s FAME programme, only 10% of the allocated funds have been spent so far, which tells us that consumer confidence is still lacking. One way to increase this is actually simply to increase the availability of charging stations, although Maharashtra’s policy itself also has attractive incentives for manufacturers,” Mukherjee added.
Certainly, Maharashtra policy recognizes the need for charging stations. The problem is in the implementation. While demand and supply side subsidies are being addressed by the state government, the burden of setting up the charging infrastructure has been given to ULBs, which may not have the planning experience or technical expertise needed to do the job. This can be demonstrated by the fact that other forms of clean mobility, such as cycle paths, are also insufficient in the city.
Moreover, the establishment of 100 electric vehicle charging stations in Mumbai will only achieve one-hundredth of the state government’s goal under the electric vehicle policy, which is to establish 1,500 charging stations in the city and suburbs, which fall under the jurisdiction of the BMC, by 2025.
“When you start out with a policy you want to give it the biggest boost possible, so in that sense a 100 EV station is not strong enough to start with. easily at home. I myself have had an electric car for more than a decade and have been able to charge it at home, but at the political level you cannot work with such assumptions,” said Ashok Datar, transport analyst and chairman of the Mumbai Environmental Social Network.
In addition, the funds necessary for the establishment of charging infrastructure in urban agglomerations will be taken from the clean air funds allocated to the city in accordance with the recommendation of the XVth Finance Commission. However, these funds have only been allocated to six cities – Greater Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad and Vasai-Virar – and will be used by the respective ULBs within their geographical boundaries.
With regard to national and national highways, the task of setting up charging stations has been given to agencies such as the PWD and the MSRDC. “And these bodies haven’t presented any plans yet,” Mukherjee said.
“Politics also leaves a gap between the phasing of these two plans. Technically, a national/regional plan for charging infrastructure must first be prepared, and then plans at city level must begin. Omitting this detail creates confusion and is another reason for the lack of coordination among different agencies,” ORF noted in a recent analysis of the state’s EV policy, available on its website.
Akshima Ghate, senior director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, which played a supporting role in developing the policy, offered another perspective. “It is a shortcoming that ULBs may lack technical expertise or planning experience, and it is also a shortcoming that there is no state-level master plan for ULBs. charging stations, but it is not correct to say that Maharashtra’s policy does not do enough in this regard.”
For example, Ghate explained, the policy incentivizes private actors to enter the market as service providers. There will also be a one-stop process for installing EV connections offering EV-specific rates. The 2021 EV Policy also recommends that amenity spaces for EV charging stations be reserved in the development plans of various cities and that all cities under the National Clean Air Program prepare an amenity plan. charging infrastructure to identify potential locations that can be leveraged to set up EV charging infrastructure. . “Special emphasis will be placed on setting up these stations at already existing gas pumps,” said a Transport Ministry official.
The 2021 EV Policy also recommends that amenity spaces for EV charging stations be reserved in the development plans of various cities and that all cities under the National Clean Air Program prepare an amenity plan. charging infrastructure to identify potential locations that can be leveraged to set up EV charging infrastructure. . “Special emphasis will be placed on setting up these stations at already existing gas pumps,” said a Transport Ministry official.
The state has offered to incentivize up to 15,500 public and semi-public electric vehicle charging stations, though these incentives are not available to stations already receiving FAME-II program benefits. For slow-charging stations up to 3.3 kW, the incentives will cover up to 60% of the cost of the unit – excluding the cost of land – with a maximum incentive of ₹10,000 each.
For moderate and fast charging stations above 3.3 kW, the incentives will cover up to 50% of the cost, with a maximum of ₹500,000 each. The tariff is applicable to all EV charging stations and battery exchange stations in the state has been set between ₹4 and ₹6.6 per unit, as per a March 2020 order issued by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).