In a bid to build a robust electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem in the country, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday unveiled the government’s plans to introduce a battery swapping policy. Considering space constraints in urban areas in terms of setting up charging stations, a battery swapping policy will be rolled out soon and interoperability standards will be formulated, the finance minister announced in her speech for Union Budget 2022-23. Sitharaman also spoke about the introduction of special mobility zones with a zero fossil fuel policy.
Commenting on the proposal, Naveen Munjal, MD, Hero Electric, says, “The EV industry witnessed tremendous growth last year, and the government has been privy to the fact that the way forward in the mobility sector is to shift to EVs. We, thus, welcome the move by the finance minister to announce the commencement of the battery swapping and battery standardisation process.”
India’s electric vehicle market is expected to reach $150 billion by 2030. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India has 9,74,313 registered electric vehicles. NITI Aayog's 2019 report titled India’s Electric Mobility Transformation had estimated the sales penetration of electric vehicles in India to be 70 per cent for commercial cars, 30 per cent for private cars, 40 per cent for buses and 80 per cent for two and three-wheelers by 2030.
The government’s push for electric vehicles also fits into the larger scheme of combating carbon emissions.
According to Nitish Arora, lead, electric mobility and clean energy, National Research Development Corporation, “Clean-energy-powered electric transportation remains critical for meeting India's climate targets. Union Budget 2022 makes a big push towards mainstreaming electric mobility by providing for battery swapping policy, special mobility zones for EVs, augmenting charging infrastructure, ratifying building by-laws, cleantech in public transport and much more. It marks a drive in the right direction indeed.”
Shreyas Shibulal, founder and director, Micelio, also feels positive about this step. “The announcement of the much-awaited battery swapping policy will provide charging solutions to those with space shortages, while the interoperability standards will provide certainty to EV manufacturers and investors looking to build charging stations. With the introduction of special mobility zones with zero fossil fuels as well, the 2022 Budget looks like it will be a game-changer for the Indian EV ecosystem,” he says.