K'taka goes into high gear to beat Telangana in electric vehicles

K'taka goes into high gear to beat Telangana in electric vehicles

The state government is considering amending rules to permit e-rickshaws in place of fuel-based auto-rickshaws as Karnataka prepares to take on neighbouring Telangana in becoming the preferred destination for electric vehicles (EVs).

The government is also mulling over inducting 3,000 electric buses in the BMTC fleet over the next three years, besides looking at how school buses can become electric.

"We are keen on these three areas because that's where the demand is," said additional chief secretary (commerce and industry) D V Prasad, who is chairing a committee tasked with drawing up an action plan to implement the Karnataka Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy 2017.

Karnataka is among the states where e-rickshaws are not allowed. Also, school buses are required to be registered in the name of educational institutions, which discourages transport companies from going electric.

The policy, on the back of which the government is wooing investors, offers tax exemption and subsidy worth at least Rs 20 crore on a first-come, first-served basis. Along with exemption from all taxes on electric vehicles, the policy provides a reduction in road and registration taxes as an indirect incentive for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The first 100 fast-charging stations for electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cars and buses in the state will enjoy capital subsidy up to Rs 10 lakh per station.

Subsidy for manufacturers

On the manufacturing front, the government has offered investment promotion subsidy, stamp duty exemption, electricity duty exemption, reimbursement of land conversion fee, concession on registration charges, interest-free loans and subsidy for effluent treatment plants.  

The government has also promised to set up an EV skill development centre, along with the  introduction of courses suited to meet the needs of the EV industry in polytechnics, and  engineering and vocational colleges.

Under the policy, the government will create EV manufacturing zones, provide readymade flatted factories, dedicated testing track for vehicles and so on.

"Karnataka became the first state to announce an EV policy, but Telangana is going to become the first to implement it," said R K Misra, a public policy and technology fellow at Carnegie India. "EV is today what information technology was in the 1990s. If we miss the bus, then we miss it."

The sector is poised for phenomenal growth with India having a cumulative sales target of 6-7 million electric vehicles by 2020, according to consulting major Ernst & Young.

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