The government is planning to increase the allocation of funds six-fold for the phase two of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme. This will include an investment of about Rs 5,500 crore over five years, which will provide subsidies for all types of electric vehicles (EVs) including two-, three- and four-wheelers, to promote environment-friendly vehicles and keep pollution in check.
Under FAME I, the government had first sanctioned Rs 795 crore which was later augmented to Rs 895 crore. The aim was to create demand incentives and infrastructure within which EV homologation facilities are set up at ARAI and other centres. These would support many R&D projects and oversee the launch of new pilot projects. One of these pilot projects was the launch of 450 EVs across nine cities under the public transportation system.
Speaking at a symposium on automotive technology in Pune, Dr Asha Ram Sihag, secretary, department of heavy industry, ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises, said that the focus of the FAME policy under its second stage (for a five-year period from April 2019) is to support public transportation, shared mobility and electric mobility – for small vehicles such as two-wheelers, as well. “The government is looking to earmark Rs 5,500 crore which is under discussion with the ministry of finance currently. We expect that FAME II will kick-start after FAME I is phased out by the end of March 2019.”
Dr Sihag said that, the government has invested in setting up homologation facilities for EVs at ARAI (Pune), GARC (Chennai) and ICAT (Manesar) as well as a new battery-testing facility at NATRAX in Indore. All of these facilities are to be functional in 2019. “The automotive industry in India should not face a shortage of advanced testing facilities once all the above-mentioned EV homologation units are functional in CY2019,” he remarked.
Dr Sihag has also said that, the government has been running pilot projects in the form of 225 EV charging stations in select cities across India. He revealed that the government has just sanctioned another 300 charging stations across India. They are expected to come up across cities and select highways. Citing examples of the chosen highways, Dr Sihag said Delhi-Agra-Jaipur and Mumbai-Pune are the two which will get EV charging stations. However, the timeline on this plan was not mentioned.
Dr Sihag also stressed upon the Automotive Mission Plan 2026, which has set three primary goals for the Indian automotive industry. Which are:
India should be the world’s third-largest global auto market by 2026.
India Auto Inc’s contribution to GDP (currently at 8 percent), to increase to 12 percent.
To generate additional employment – direct and indirect – for 65 million people.