The survey revealed that roughly 21% of participants indicated that there were "not enough electric car charging stations in my area/city/town."

Survey finds that only 5% may buy EVs this year

According to a survey, only 5 % of those looking to buy a four-wheeler in the country are likely to buy an electric car this year, reported Economic Times.  Of the 40,000 participants in the poll, which was done over a three-month period, 42% are from tier-1 cities, 34% are from tier-2 cities, and 24% are from tier-3, tier-4, and rural areas. According to the report, about 7% of participants in the poll stated there were “not enough choices of models within budget,” while 21% said e-cars were “more expensive as compared to regular cars.” The survey revealed that roughly 21% of participants indicated that there were “not enough electric car charging stations in my area/city/town,” and 12% stated that they “don’t know enough about these vehicles,” which may account for the comparatively low interest in e-four-wheelers.

Maharashtra calls for bids to set up 350 EV charging stations

The Mahatma Phule Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Technology (MAHAPREIT) —the subsidiary of Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation’s (MPBCDCL)— is seeking bids from potential empanelment agencies to establish 350 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations around Maharashtra.

The job encompasses the installation of 350 charging stations, maintenance and operation tasks, and end-user charging services. Additionally, electricity costs will be borne by the bidders. Along with meeting additional financial eligibility requirements, bidders must have installed a minimum of 10 public EV charging stations in the last five years. Recipients of the MPBCDC or any newly established Scheduled Caste unit must present authentic credentials of caste, domicile, and incorporation. The winning bidder will need to set aside 100 square feet at the site so that future installations of battery swapping stations can be made.

Nickel farming, the use plants to extract nickel from soil, may become reality

The US Department of Energy is spending $10 million to investigate the possibility of farming nickel, which is required for lithium-ion batteries. Plants are being used by researchers to remove nickel from soil. Scientists have discovered hyperaccumulators—plants that grow well in nickel-rich settings and absorb battery metals—in Malaysia. As much as 3.3% nickel and 4.6% manganese can be found in the leaves of the Antidesma montis-silam tree, which grows quickly on the island of Borneo. These metal concentrations are significantly higher in the sap.

Scientists are looking into the possibility of using a hybrid farming and mining technique called phytomining to harvest metals such as nickel, manganese, and other elements that hyperaccumulators collect from the soil. 

Ministry of Power releases guidelines for viability gap funding for battery storage

Mercom reported that the operating rules for the ₹94 billion (~$1.1 billion) programme, which offers viability gap finance (VGF) of up to 40% to create 4,000 MWh of battery energy storage systems (BESS) capacity nationwide, have been released by the Ministry of Power (MoP). The funding was announced during the 2024 interim budget in February this year.

The programme will receive ₹37.6 billion ($452 million) in funding and run for three years, from 2023–2025. According to the programme requirements, projects must be completed 24 months from the date of agreement. Five tranches of funds, each corresponding to a milestone such as financial closure and commercial activities, will be distributed. In accordance with MoP norms, the tariff-based competitive bidding process will be used to award projects. In order to compete, developers will submit quotes that are the lowest annualised fixed costs, subject to tariff limits decided by a committee. 

NATO launches business accelerator to invest 1 billion Euros in climate tech startups

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance, launched its first business accelerator programme mainly for climate technology startups, under its NATO Investment Fund. NATO’s entry into venture capital is marked by the new programme, the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, or DIANA, which is focusing on solving security issues related to climate change. 

DIANA was established in 2023 with a fund of € 1 billion, sourced from NATO member nations. Its objective is to finance technological advancements that augment energy resilience and tackle security risks intensified by climate change.

The primary areas for startups admitted into DIANA’s programme include energy resilience, cybersecurity, and surveillance, with a particular emphasis on renewable energy solutions. These firms are able to access specialised testing facilities and resources in addition to receiving initial grants. However, given the military context of NATO, some investors have hesitation regarding the potential ethical and financial implications.

China challenges USA’s “discriminatory” EV subsidies at WTO

To protect its interests in the electric vehicle sector, China has started dispute settlement procedures against the United States at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), reported Retuers. According to China, the country is challenging the “discriminatory subsidies” under the USA’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is leading to the exclusion of goods from China and other WTO nations.

A statement from the China’s Ministry of Commerce said that “Under the pretext of ‘responding to climate change’ and ‘environmental protection’, the US has formulated discriminatory policies through its Inflation Reduction Act regarding new energy vehicles, excluding products from China and other WTO members from subsidies.” According to China, such exclusions distort fair competition, disrupt global industrial and supply chains and violate WTO principles such as national treatment and most-favoured-nation treatment.

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