India to explore “feebate”, import duty cuts to nudge EV sales, but not battery swapping

India’s top planning body NITI Aayog is exploring the feebate model – taxing polluting vehicles more and subsidizing less polluting/zero-emission ones by an equivalent amount – to nudge more customers into buying EVs. The Centre may also cut import duties on metal and plastic parts for EVs – they  currently attract 28% import duties – and promote indigenous manufacturing to make EVs more affordable.

The Centre, however, is reportedly cagey about battery swapping – which has been proposed by experts to slash re-charging time for EVs – over fears that it could lead to China dumping its li-ion batteries on India. China leads the world in the manufacture of  li-ion EV batteries and may command up to 56% of the global market share by 2020.

Kia signs MoU with Andhra Pradesh for first EV plant, Fortum to install 720 charging points by 2020

Kia Motors has signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh to build its first EV manufacturing plant in India in the district of Anantapur. The South Korea automaker previously expressed confidence that India would transition to electric mobility – despite its current lack of clear government policies – and could roll out its first India-specific electric car in 2021.

Meanwhile Finland’s Fortum Oyj will install 720 charging points across India by 2020. The energy giant already operates 30 charging points across Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

VW to roll out last combustion cars by 2026; Audi to invest $16billion in EVs, autonomous driving  

Volkswagen has announced that it will roll out its last generation of petrol and diesel cars by 2026. The world’s largest automaker will also invest $50 billion over the next five years in accelerating the group’s shift to zero-emission vehicles.

VW is reportedly scouting for locations for a new EV manufacturing plant in North America, while its subsidiary, Audi, plans to invest $16 billion in EVs and autonomous/self driving vehicles by 2023.

EU fails to finalize sharper CO2 reduction targets for cars and vans
The European Union has so far failed to reach a consensus on sharply reducing CO2 emissions from cars and vans, with Germany voicing the strongest opposition to the proposed target of 40% reduction over 2021 levels by 2030. Germany is Europe’s largest automotive producer and has warned of heavy job losses and industrial costs over the cuts.
Austria, which currently holds the EU presidency, has been criticised by countries rooting for greater emissions reduction as waiting for Germany’s approval to officially adopt stricter standards.

German research firm warns of heavy job losses over EV transition, US may rescind all federal EV subsidies
Germany’s Institute for Employment Research (IAB) has warned that the country may lose nearly 1,14,000 jobs by 2035 – and suffer nearly €20 billion in economic losses – as the country transitions to manufacturing electric cars, which have much fewer components. IAB’s warnings assume that EVs will corner 23% of the German automotive market by that date.

Meanwhile, the White House may rescind all federal subsidies for EVs by 2020 or 2021, apparently as retaliation to General Motors shuttering several of its US plants and accelerating its shift to EVs. Americans currently enjoy $2,500 – $7,500 in tax credits for purchasing EVs, but several Republicans – including President Trump – reportedly consider it a “waste of taxpayer money”.

UK launches largest commercial EVs trial to study electricity demand, optimise charging infra

The UK has launched the world’s largest three-year trial of about 3,000 commercial electric vehicles to study their impact on the country’s electricity demand, identify the factors holding back businesses from opting for EVs, and to optimise the placement of charging facilities for both commercial and private EVs.

The trial will also employ Internet of Things (IoT) to study peak electricity demand times for EVs, and whether they can be used to supplement grid power during off-peak hours.

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