Amidst Concerns and Market Uncertainties, WEF-OMI Report Says that India May Become the Largest EV Market A report by the World Economic Forum and Ola Mobility Institute shows that the country can potentially become the largest EV market in the world

By Shreya Ganguly

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At a time when electric vehicle industry players are looking to understand the uncertain market in India, a report by the World Economic Forum and Ola Mobility Institute shows that the country can potentially become the largest EV market in the world. However, the report also stated that "a collective path towards operationalizing EVs across India is yet to be found".

While the central and state government have been bullish about EV adoption in India, the players have been uncertain due to lack of clear policies and inadequate infrastructures.

"The next stage of policy development should move beyond a "pile-up" of policy incentives along the value chain to a measured "mix of policies" that evaluates the conditions that enable competing and coexisting business models. This would provide practical recommendations for industry actors and insights for policy-makers 30 Further research could focus on evaluating the impact of policy measures across the globe and offer recommendations for India," the report noted.

According to the report, there are some specific challenges regarding e-mobility in India which need further investigation. "One is identifying the next steps forward for a large-scale deployment of public charging infrastructure after the first stage is financed by the government," the report noted.

"Global megatrends such as technological breakthroughs, climate change and resource scarcity, demographic changes and accelerating urbanization32 are having a major effect in India, which is at a critical juncture in showcasing leadership in electric mobility," the report added.

Suggestions By Ola Mobility and WEF

The report has made some suggestions based on theUS, Chinese, Taiwanese a European markets to strengthen India's state EV policies and also create a robust and holistic enabling environment for the faster adoption of e-mobility.

"The role of government is crucial for accelerating adoption. Right now, the uptake of electric vehicles is slow due to the high upfront cost and range anxiety. But, long-term investments in R&D will create sustained growth,"said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum.

Research &Development (Organization): The report recommends the states to allocate funds for research in battery chemistry and cell technologies. It also recommends research for recycling centres to reclaim and recycle critical materials (such as cobalt and lithium). "States could invest in R&D to encourage pilot programmes to measure the impact of EVs on the existing grid," the report said.

Production: According to the report, states may implement a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate which requires the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to register and sell a minimum share of EVs and gradually increase the share over time. "States could provide tax credits to deploy charging infrastructure. To ensure fast implementation they could make it applicable for the first 1,000 charging stations in the state. States could also have city-level targets to implement such incentives smoothly," the report stated.

Customers: According to the report, states can create a "low-carbon city promotion task force" to promote selected cities as "carbon-free" cities by implementing EV policies. The states can also mandate setting up of a dedicated EV cell by 2020 uniformly across the nation. "States could operationalize single-window clearance for faster approvals at the earliest opportunity and replicate the policy throughout the country," the report noted.

Problems Highlighted

The report also highlighted that the uptake of electric vehicles is slow because the vehicles are expensive not only upfront but also the total cost of ownership (TCO). Apart from this, the report noted that electric vehicle ownership is disproportionately concentrated among high-income households and communities.

"The lack of robust fast-charging infrastructure, causing range anxiety among users, credit constraints, the limited choice set of vehicle models, and well-established behavioural failures that inhibit adoption of efficient technologies with lower life-cycle cost26 impede EV adoption," the report noted.

Shreya Ganguly

Former Features Writer

Covering startups and investments for Entrepreneur India. Previously a startup correspondent at Inc42. Reach out to me with interesting story ideas at sganguly@entrepreneurindia.com. 

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