Karnataka is looking to attract investments to the tune of Rs 31,000 crore from companies looking at R&D and manufacturing of electric vehicles in the state. This, at a time when the Centre is using a heavy hand to force automakers to switch to the green technology.
Karnataka is the first state to roll out an Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy that looks not only at boosting sales of EVs, but also setting up charging infrastructure and special manufacturing zones.
“I am sure that this policy would be a game changer in the Industry and will be a model for other states. Our real work starts now, focussing on developing a ready ecosystem for a vibrant electric vehicle sector in the state,” said R V Deshpande, Industries Minister for Karnataka.
The state estimates that it will be able to create employment for 55,000 individuals over the next few years through the electric vehicle industry. One of the top mandates for Karnataka’s policy is to setup electric vehicle manufacturing zones along with facilities for testing that can be used even by start-ups.
Karnataka already has a fledgling ecosystem for supporting electric mobility thanks to some of the early movers such as Chetan Maini, the founder of Reva. Apart from the country’s only electric car manufacturer Mahindra Electric, the state is also home to one of the most promising electric mobility start-ups Ather Energy.
Apart from manufacturers, Karnataka is also home to component makers such as Bosch and Delphi which have begun preparing for the country’s electrification drive.
Bosch has already announced its plans to supply manufacturers of electric two and three wheelers with motors, control units, battery packs and other ancillaries within the next 12 months. The company’s R&D unit in Bengaluru has been working on electrification solutions since early 2016, drawing on decades of research from its headquarters in Germany.
Karnataka’s policy also asks for the creation of a special purpose vehicle that will involve civic agencies, state transport and energy companies, and its renewable energy and industrial boards for the creation of charging infrastructure within the state. The state will also mandate installation of charging units in all high-rise buildings, malls, IT parks and apartment complexes.
While states such as Delhi have looked at the use of subsidies to boost sales of electric vehicles to counter its growing pollution problem, Karnataka is taking a much more holistic approach of supporting research, manufacturing of vehicles and charging infra, apart from looking at ways of getting EVs on the ground.
After claiming the titles of IT capital and startup capital of the country, Karnataka is now hoping to become the EV capital of India. The state’s cabinet approved the new policy which has a vision “to make Karnataka, a preferred investment destination for manufacturing of Electric Vehicles”.