New Delhi: The government will expand the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem by supporting charging and manufacturing infrastructure in the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday, a move lauded by the automotive industry players. Sitharaman, in her pre-election Budget, which is technically a vote on account and popularly termed an interim Budget, also noted that usage of electric buses for public transport networks will be encouraged.
"Our government will expand and strengthen the e-vehicle ecosystem by supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure," the Finance Minister said. Greater adoption of e-buses for public transport networks will be encouraged through payment security mechanisms, she added.
Maruti Suzuki India Senior Executive Officer, Marketing & Sales Shashank Srivastava said at the moment, one of the hurdles against the faster adoption of electric mobility in India is the lack of charging infrastructure to address consumers' confidence against range anxiety. "Any support from the government to help build that infrastructure or support the infrastructure or support localisation of battery components would obviously help in the faster adoption of EVs. So this Budget does have a provision which builds that ecosystem for the EV infrastructure. In that sense it's going to help in the faster adoption of EVs in the country," he added.
Renault India Operations Country CEO & Managing Director Venkatram Mamillapalle said that the company "enthusiastically supports the impetus on advancing the e-vehicle ecosystem, recognising its pivotal role in sustainable mobility".
The promise of expanded manufacturing and charging infrastructure aligns seamlessly with the commitment of delivering innovative, eco-friendly solutions," he said, adding that the emphasis on e-buses for public transport, echoes aspirations for fostering a greener and more sustainable future.
Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) Director General, Sohinder Gill welcomed the emphasis on a green public transportation system, while prioritising a strong charging infrastructure for widespread adoption of electric vehicles. "However, a noticeable gap in the budget is the absence of continued direct customer subsidies, a critical element that played a substantial role in driving the adoption of electric vehicles across various categories over the last two years," he added.
Gill further said, "We eagerly await the government's comprehensive strategy and commitment to sustaining the electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem. It is anticipated that a combination of fiscal and non-fiscal interventions will be outlined, offering crucial support for the industry in the coming years until it achieves a threshold for self-sustained growth."
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Vinod Aggarwal said, "The announcement on strengthening the EV ecosystem by supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure, will boost the development and adoption of EVs in the country." He also welcomed the encouragement of payment security mechanisms for the adoption of e-buses for public transport networks.
EV maker Omega Seiki Mobility Founder and Chairman Uday Narang said, "The dedicated support for manufacturing and charging infrastructure is a game-changer, promising exponential growth in our industry. This budget represents a significant step towards cleaner air, sustainable transportation, and a thriving domestic EV industry."
Euler Motors Founder & CEO Saurav Kumar said the budget's strategic focus is on strengthening the EV ecosystem, particularly through support for charging infrastructure, which underscores the nation's dedication to sustainable transportation solutions.
He, however, said, "...as EV manufacturers, we eagerly await further elaboration on the FAME subsidies, which have revolutionised EV adoption in India and may remain pivotal in reinforcing the industry, in the coming phase of expansion."
Similarly, e-Sprinto Co-founder and Director Atul Gupta said particulars regarding the electric mobility mission and encouragement of EV infrastructure were missing in the speech.
With the budget pointing towards creating ambitious policies towards the adoption of EVs in the public transportation sector, he said the industry expects supporting policies to follow soon to strengthen the manufacturing of EVs and infrastructure.
Quantum Energy Managing Director Chakravarthi C said that the imminent expiration of the FAME II subsidy programme by March 2024 sparked hopes for its extension, aligning with the government's ambitious 2030 target of 30 percent of electric vehicles on Indian roads.
"Furthermore, a substantial reduction in GST on lithium-ion battery packs and cells, from 18 percent to 5 percent would have alleviated manufacturing costs, making EVs more competitively priced and boosting consumer adoption," he noted.
Seafund Co-founder & Managing Partner Mayuresh Raut said the solar rooftop schemes will be a big boost to not only meet the goals for clean energy, but will also set up India to start addressing the EV charging infrastructure that is currently holding back wider adoption of EVs.
The visionary initiative of supporting the growth of the EV ecosystem not only accelerates the transition to sustainable transportation but also fosters innovation and job creation within the EV sector, Snap E Cabs Founder & CEO Mayank Bindal stated.