Zomato, Kotak Mahindra and Gogoro tie up to pace up EV adoption for delivery

Gogoro Inc., a battery-swapping company headquartered in Taiwan, has teamed up with Zomato and Kotak Mahindra Prime to encourage swift adoption of electric mobility in the last-mile transportation sector. Gogoro will offer reasonably priced battery swapping services and financing conditions to the last-mile delivery partners connected to Zomato, which has over 3,00,000 delivery partners in India. The collaboration seeks to reduce air pollution by providing delivery partners with accessible routes to take advantage of the advantages of smart electric two-wheelers and battery swapping. As part of the partnership, accessible loan conditions will be offered by Kotak Mahindra Prime, the car leasing division of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Parliamentary panel recommends extension of FAME subsidy for two years

According to the parliamentary committee on EVs, the government should extend benefits for EVs under the FAME scheme by two more years after the incentive expires in March of next year, or else the pace of EV adoption would slow down due to expensive vehicles, and start-ups in the category might wrap up. The Committee on Estimates (2022-23) on ‘Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Policy’ said in its report that although some states have developed their own EV policies and transportation is a state concern, it was stated that a “strong National Policy framework on EVs” needs to be developed.

The panel suggested the continuation of the FAME II scheme beyond March 2024 and also said that four wheelers should be included under the scheme to boost demand. The committee recommended that in addition to EVs and hybrid cars, the government should support other technologies like flex fuel cars, hydrogen internal combustion engines, and hydrogen fuel cell cars. The policy should focus on charging infrastructure, battery swapping, recycling battery waste, and public awareness, said the committee report. 

US and Japan strike deal for electric vehicles minerals

A trade pact concerning the minerals used in batteries for electric vehicle batteries has been struck between the US and Japan. The agreement prohibits the nations from placing export tariffs on one another. The agreement follows the Inflation Reduction Act, which restricted consumer tax credits for electric automobiles to those whose batteries were mined or processed in nations with which the United States has free trade agreements.

Concerns about the clause have been expressed by a number of nations, including Japan, who claim that it may discourage domestic manufacturers from investing in the production of electric vehicles. The agreement now forbids Japan and the US from implementing bilateral export limitations on the minerals most essential for EV batteries like lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese among others.

By requiring cooperation to fight “non-market policies and practices” of other nations in the sector and on conducting investment reviews of foreign investments in their vital mineral supply chains, the agreement also aims to lessen the U.S.-Japanese reliance on China for such materials.

Oil companies to get ₹800 crore subsidy to set up 7000 charging stations under FAME II

The Ministry of Heavy Industries will be giving out a 800 crore subsidy to the country’s public sector undertaking oil companies to set up 7,432 EV charging stations, reported the Economic Times. According to officials in the know, the subsidy will be offered for setting up of Combined Charging System (CCS) – II EV fast charger and not for CHArge de MOve (CHAdeMO). The preference for CCS by India is in line with a similar move by the US administration. According to Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister for Heavy Industries,  the cost of installing the new charging points will be around Rs 1000 crore, of which 80% will be covered by the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Phase II. 

This sum will be given to Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), who have agreed to install the charging stations by the end of the fiscal year 2023–24.

No progress on EV battery swap policy draft after a year

After nearly one year since the battery swapping policy was announced by the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the budget 2022-23, the EV industry is waiting for it to be finalised. The policy is anticipated to provide answers for the space shortage in cities and to shorten the amount of time it takes to charge a vehicle, particularly commercial two- and three-wheel EVs. However, The policy’s release has been delayed by the widespread opposition from industry participants to the interoperability standards, which require swappable batteries to have a specified set of outer dimensions in order to qualify for incentives. 

The industry believes that the specifications are biased in favour of one specific original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Therefore, standardising the battery dimensions would require significant changes to the platforms that operators and OEMs have built and would not be practical in the current business case. Experts said that investors who are looking at India as a favourable destination are asking swapping operators for policy clarity. 

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