The Rise and Fall of the EV in India

The Rise and Fall of the EV in India

India has predominantly used scooters and bikes for daily transportation and commutes. Therefore, there is wide scope for this industry, especially due to the potential for the manufacturing of economical and fuel-efficient vehicles. Within this sense, we may surmise that the electronic vehicle (EV) market is set to boom in India in the near future.

The first electronic scooter ever developed in India was in the year 1996 by Scooters India Pvt Ltd, which was a three-wheeler vehicle. Thereafter, the auto company Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. introduced its first electric three-wheeler in 1999, and in 2001, however not much of a response was received and the factory had to be closed down.

Between the years 2005-2015, India saw a period of huge setbacks for the EV industry due to poor government support, as well as lack of technological systems and infrastructure for EVs. It was only in the year 2016-2017 that the electric auto rickshaws made a stir in the EV industry by selling around 500,000 e-rickshaws in that year alone.

At present, the government is now focusing its efforts on boosting the use of electric vehicles, as most cities are heavily polluted. A scheme known as FAME, or “Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles in India,” has been launched that shall provide a number of subsidies to 11 selected cities for the launch of electric buses, taxis, and e-rickshaws.

Electric vehicles are environmentally friendly and thus prove to be a good choice for individuals as they have the proper level of functionality. World renowned brands such as Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Hyundai, Mahindra, Chevrolet, BMW, and Renault are now among the companies producing revolutionary electric automobiles today.

The Glitch

In recent days, India has witnessed at least six reported cases of EVs caught ablaze. Electric scooters made by Ola, Okinawa, Pure EV, and Jitendra EV have been those which have been affected. Unfortunately, this has left a negative impact on the minds of consumers with many now wary of buying EVs.

The main reason for EVs to go ablaze is due to the faulty battery, with experts believing that lithium batteries which are used in EVs are susceptible to fire when the temperature increases or when there is an extreme variation in the climate. Batteries which are imported may not be designed to suit the Indian climate and temperature, with other possibilities such as (a) short circuits; (b) deformed cells; and (c) insufficient ventilation also cannot be ruled out.

Therefore, it is essential that the manufacturer consider designing a state-of-the-art battery for an effective thermal management system/process.

The Government Response

In the wake of this, the Indian government have sprung into action. The government has appointed a team of experts that will probe each and every incident and review the entire EV ecosystem.

The team will then submit its report to the government after which, expected guidelines related to the testing standards, manufacturing, storage as well as transportation of electric vehicles shall be rolled out.

As per the initial finding of the investigation, the government has considered the option of testing the battery cell of E-scooters before launching them and has taken samples of cells from the three relevant companies to make further checks.

Change is necessary. Several Indian companies like Exide, Amaron, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti and even Tata Group, have either already taken or intend to take the plunge towards the manufacture of EV batteries. These companies should adequately take the Indian climatic conditions and other applicable factors into account in reducing the risk of EV fires.

Conclusion

The electric mobility push is critical for India’s climate change and carbon reduction goals. India’s intended plan is to ensure that e-scooters and e-bikes make up 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, which is only about 2% at the time of writing.

By 2024, the Indian government hopes to have made arrangements and provided incentives to encourage more people to purchase Battery Electric Vehicles, which will account for 25% of all new car registrations. A two-pronged strategy must be implemented for this to happen. First and foremost, India must become truly EV-ready by establishing the required infrastructure and technologies to support electric car manufacturing. Secondly, facilities must be made so that outdated vehicles can be retrofitted to become hybrid electric vehicles, which will help to reduce pollution levels.

We hope the above is informative and helpful. If you have any questions related to the these matters, we remain available upon your request. Please feel free to contact D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel for more information:info@dandreapartners.com

Bosky Tanmay Gokani Bosky Tanmay Gokani

Bosky Tanmay Gokani

Legal Advisor
Bosky Gokani, a qualified Indian lawyer, is currently based in Shanghai.
Veronica Gianola Veronica Gianola

Veronica Gianola

Senior Associate
Veronica Gianola, an accomplished Italian lawyer, is a member of the Milan Bar Association.

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