EV Industry leaders positive view toward Budget 2022 for automotive industry.

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The Budget brought some measure of relief to India’s electric-vehicle ecosystem, but several key rebates and relaxations in policy went unmentioned. Here’s what the automobile industry has to say. 

BUDGET 2022 heralded policies that will facilitate battery swapping and interoperability standards that will make for uniform battery technology. The policy will be a solution to the tedium of setting up charging stations in spatially challenged urban confines. The move, however, is likely to benefit only electric two- and three-wheelers and that too a select few brands. The premium end of the electric two-wheeler market, including Ather Energy and Ola Electric, has thus far been more keen on setting up charging networks and does not provide swappable batteries. Not surprisingly, Ather Energy and a few other manufacturers declined to comment on the budget. The early adopters of swappable battery technology like Hero Electric and Okinawa Motors were pleased. Here are edited excerpts from comments by industry leaders.

Naveen Munjal, chief executive officer of Hero Electric 

“This move will open up avenues for further growth and development of the EV and energy sector in the country. Hero Electric has always been a strong advocate of standardisation of EV battery packs to accelerate EV adoption. Interoperability standards will help address range anxiety issues and battery swapping stations will be an asset to the evolving EV ecosystem across the country. Keeping in line with the Net Zero (emissions) commitment of 2070 made by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, announcement of the PLI (production-linked incentive) scheme focusing on solar modules and reduction of reliance on non-renewable sources of energy via the launch of sovereign green bonds to create a carbon free economy is a major step ahead.”

Jeetender Sharma, managing director and founder of Okinawa Motors 

“The introduction of the battery swapping policy to improve the country’s EV infrastructure is a positive step that could potentially address the range anxiety issue, which is one of the impediments to a mass-market transition from internal combustion engine-based vehicles to electric vehicles.”

Vivekanand Hallekere, chief executive officer and co-founder of Bounce Motors 

“With the Budget 2022-23 announcement on bringing out a robust battery swapping policy, this vindicates the path that we have pioneered for Bounce. Government and policymakers have recognised battery swapping as the most effective solution to accelerate EV adoption in India (…) We believe this move can enable affordable and clean mobility at scale. At Bounce, we are nearing a million battery swaps already and the government’s decision ties in with our vision that clean and affordable mobility is a fundamental right.”

Venu Srinivasan, chairman of TVS Motors, which recently announced plans to invest Rs.1,200 crore in future technologies

Union Budget 2022 sets the pace for the Indian economy’s growth trajectory amidst the challenges brought forth by the pandemic. The big boost to capital expenditure is welcome and it would give a fillip to the Indian economy. For the automobile sector, we welcome the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan focusing on building world-class infrastructure and improved connectivity for commuters (…) In the electric mobility space, we strongly support the measures undertaken by the government to promote clean and green mobility, mainly introducing the battery swapping policy which will be instrumental in supporting an efficient EV ecosystem. There is an impactful thrust towards renewable energy incentives with an increased focus on reducing infrastructural waste for a greener tomorrow”

Suhas Rajkumar, CEO & founder of Simple Energy 

“It is heartening to see that the government is looking at transitioning to EVs at a faster pace… encouraging the private sector to create sustainable business models is a welcome move. Impetus should be given to developing safer battery packs…”

Manufacturers of electric four-wheelers also made observations about the budget, but chose to steer clear of the battery swapping policy, which doesn’t benefit EV carmakers in any way. Compared to past budget announcements, brands remained uncharacteristically reticent. Skoda VW India group chose not to comment on the budget.

Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, the first luxury carmaker to introduce an EV in India 

“The battery-swapping announcement is in the right direction and will be helpful to a limited segment. We, however, need a broader, holistic view on the strategy around developing electric mobility for the passenger vehicle segment. A mid-to-long term planning for demand creation is needed.”

P.B. Balaji, group chief financial officer of Tata Motors, the largest-selling EV maker in India 

“Building on the excellent budget of last year, the government has wisely continued on the path of prioritising economic growth with calibrated fiscal prudence. For the Indian automobile sector, which is a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, the budget offers continuity and also additional opportunities to drive multi-year growth. Specifically, the robust increase in capex by 35.4% to Rs 7.5 lakh crore and a comprehensive investment plan for infrastructure is a significant growth booster.”

Rakesh Jejurikar, executive director, auto & farm Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra 

“As part of our Last Mile Mobility, we look forward to working with the Government, policymakers and our partners to formulate and implement the battery swapping policy. This will include introducing interoperability standards as well as driving innovation in Battery as a Service business models.”

Vinkesh Gulati, president, Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations 

“The development of special mobility zones for electric vehicles and promoting clean technology for public transport validate government commitment to E-mobility, which would boost confidence in the EV industry in terms of manufacturing and sales, and create a sense of assurance among customers.”

Sohinder Gill, director general of the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles 

“We welcome the measures announced by the honourable Finance Minister, today. The budget for 2022–23 gives a huge impetus to the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Introducing the battery swapping policy and recognizing battery or energy as a service will help to develop EV infrastructure and increase the use of EVs in public transportation. It would motivate businesses engaged in delivery and car aggregation businesses to incorporate EVs into their fleet. It will create new avenues for companies to venture into the business of battery swapping. Additionally, creating special clean zones will further accelerate the adoption of EVs and spread awareness amongst the citizens. The move will benefit the whole segment, i.e E2W, E3W, E-cars, and buses.”

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