Maharashtra govt releases EV policy, proposes to achieve 25% electrification of public transport by 2025

In a bid to support the adoption of sustainable and clean mobility solutions, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday released the Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy 2021, which takes care of both the demand and supply side. The objective is to accelerate the adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the state so that they contribute to 10 per cent of new vehicle registration by 2025. The policy also aims to roll in 10 per cent of two-wheelers, 20 per cent of three-wheelers and 5 per cent of four-wheelers by 2025. At least 25 per cent of the urban fleet operated by the fleet aggregators/operators in the state will be EVs by 2025.

The policy proposes to achieve 25 per cent electrification of public transport and last-mile delivery vehicles by 2025 in the five-pronged urban agglomeration in the state, convert 15 per cent of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC)’s existing bus fleet to electric and make Maharashtra the country’s top producer of BEVs in terms of annual production capacity.

The government will set up fund to promote EV adoption, including providing incentives for EVs and EV infrastructure and also form a state EV secretariat chaired by the chief secretary to monitor day-to-day operations. Releasing the policy which will be valid till March 31, 2025, Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said, “The policy envisions retaining Maharashtra’s leadership in automotive manufacturing in India and its emergence as one of the leading manufacturing and investment hubs for the EV ecosystem globally.” He noted that the policy would apply exclusively to BEVs, while mild, strong and plug-in hybrid EVs were not covered.

The government has offered demand-side incentives, whereby buyers purchasing EVs except e-buses before December 31, 2021, will be eligible for an early bird discount of Rs 5,000 per kWh of the vehicle’s battery capacity. This discount will be over and above the demand incentives. The maximum early bird discount per vehicle will be capped at Rs 1 lakh.

For vehicles sold without battery, 50 per cent of the incentive amount will be provided to the vehicle OEM and the remaining incentive amount, up to 50 per cent, will be provided to the battery-swapping energy operator for defraying the cost of any deposits that may be required from the end-user for the use of type approved swappable battery, the type approved, along with corresponding OEM vehicles.

All EVs sold will be exempted from road tax for the duration of the policy and also from the payment of fees for the purpose of issue or renewal of registration certificate.

The vehicles eligible for demand incentives under this policy will be eligible for the scrappage incentive.

The state government will engage and encourage financial institutions and banks to offer preferential interest rates to EV customer segments like e-autos, goods carriers and taxis. For e-2-wheelers, the government will provide scrappage incentive up to Rs 7,000, for e-3-wheelers, up to Rs 15,000 and for e-4-wheelers, up to Rs 25,000.

The charging station will be eligible for the incentives only after the commencement of operations. For slow public and semi-public charging stations, the incentive will be 60 per cent of the cost and for moderate and fast ones, 50 per cent of the cost. The tariff applicable for all the EV charging stations and battery-swapping stations will be as per the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s order issued on March 30, 2020. Urban local bodies will be encouraged to provide property tax rebates to residential owners for installing private charging infrastructure.

As far as supply-side incentives are concerned, all benefits under the D plus-category of mega projects/other categories will be provided to industries engaged in EV component manufacturing, vehicle assembly, battery assembly, cell manufacturing, recycling of EVs and EV batteries. These sops will be irrespective of the location of the manufacturing unit in the state.

The policy aims to target the establishment of at least one gigafactory for the manufacturing of advanced chemistry cell batteries and promote research and development, innovation and skill development across the EV ecosystem.

OEMs, who offer buyback schemes for vehicles which are up to five years old at a value reduced by not more than 7.5 per cent per year of age, will be eligible for additional incentives.

As far as non-fiscal benefits are concerned, the policy will endeavour to fast-track and ensure time-bound registration of EVs and they will be registered with green number plates, irrespective of vehicle type. No permits will be needed for e-autos, as per the notification of the ministry of road transport and highways.

The policy prioritises public and shared transport, goods carriers and two-wheelers to drive the adoption of EVs. The government will develop a communication plan focussed on driving awareness regarding the key elements of the policy and the benefits of adopting EVs.

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Free Press Journal