Indian States’ Electric Vehicle Policy: A Breakthrough Index

By Richard Rossow & Thomas Lutken —

A technician briefs during during the launch of Hyundai’s India’s first electric SUV ‘KONA’ at Secretariat Park in Chennai on July 24, 2019. Photo: ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images.

This issue: Madhya Pradesh tops our electric vehicle (EV) policy breakthrough index with subsidies for manufacturers, mandates on charging infrastructure, and a campaign to raise public awareness on EVs. Close runners up include Tamil Nadu, which featured generous manufacturing subsidies, and Andhra Pradesh, with mandated electric-bus and electric rickshaw adoptions.

Index score for Indian states in the area of electric vehicle policy. Data gathered from various Indian states’ policy documents, compiled by the author.

Why it matters: Air quality is one of the most urgent problems in India today. Replacing internal combustion vehicles with EVs improves air quality while simultaneously fighting climate change and decreasing India’s need for oil imports. The central government has recognized this importance, with its Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) program pushing for EV adoption nationwide. As of January 2020, eight Indian states plus the Delhi National Capital Territory have added to this central government push by releasing their own EV policies, with five more draft policies in the works.

How the Index works: We ranked the adopted EV policies on four factors – extent of subsidies on EV adoption, EV manufacturing support, charging infrastructure mandates, and public awareness efforts. All factors were weighted equally, because of their interdependence. For example, a state could have excellent adoption subsidies, but consumer adoption could remain low without investment in charging infrastructure.

We used a 10-point scale for each factor, with a maximum score of 40 points possible on the index. Not mentioning a policy area secures no points. Mentioning a policy but having no hard commitments earns three points, while states with concrete commitments earn the full 10 points.

Our data: The published EV policies of the eight states with adopted EV policies form our data source. To establish appropriate factors, we used the International Council on Clean Transportation’s EV Guidebook for Indian States as a baseline, as well as the Indian Smart Grid Forum study report on EV policies in India.

Highlights of the analysis:

  • Madhya Pradesh is unique in its use of a pollution tax, simultaneously funding its EV efforts while disincentivizing dirtier forms of transport.
  • Only Maharashtra and Delhi feature direct subsidies for purchasing EVs, over and above the FAME subsidies from the central government.
  • Public awareness was notably absent from most policies; states need to include public test drives, “green days”, or other efforts to increase knowledge about EVs.

Mr. Richard M. Rossow is senior fellow and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS. Follow him on twitter @RichardRossow. Mr. Thomas Lutken is a research intern with the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS

Richard Rossow

Richard Rossow

Richard M. Rossow is a senior fellow and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS.

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