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India, with its growing population and burgeoning vehicle industry, is at a crossroads. As the need for sustainable transportation solutions intensifies, the government has placed a strong emphasis on promoting electric vehicles (EVs). A key initiative in this direction is the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme. 

Mahendra Nath Pandey, the Heavy Industries Minister, declared a Rs. 500 crore allocation for the new scheme. This new scheme will be valid for four months from now. This blog dives into the details of FAME, exploring its objectives, benefits, and the current state of the program.

What is FAME?

Launched in 2015, FAME is a flagship scheme of the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. The program has undergone revisions and currently operates in its second iteration, FAME II. Here's an overview of its key objectives:

  • Demand Incentive: FAME II provides upfront demand incentives on the purchase of electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers (including buses). This aims to reduce the initial cost burden for consumers and encourage EV adoption.
  • Charging Infrastructure Development: The scheme supports the establishment of charging stations across India, making EV ownership a more practical proposition by addressing range anxiety.
  • Battery Technology Advancement: FAME aims to promote research and development in battery technology to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the range of EVs.
  • EV Manufacturing Ecosystem: The program incentivizes local manufacturing of EVs and their critical components, fostering a robust domestic EV industry and reducing reliance on imports.

Benefits of FAME for different stakeholders

The FAME scheme offers a win-win proposition for various stakeholders:

  • Consumers: Reduced upfront costs for EVs through subsidies, encouraging a shift towards cleaner transportation options.
  • Manufacturers: Financial support for EV production, promoting domestic manufacturing and technological advancements.
  • Environment: Reduced emissions and improved air quality due to increased EV adoption, leading to a cleaner and healthier environment.
  • Energy Security: Lower dependence on imported fossil fuels as India transitions towards electric mobility.

Current status and future roadmap

FAME II, launched in 2019, has witnessed a significant uptake in EV sales across segments, particularly two-wheelers. The update in the new scheme saw a decrease in the incentives for electric two-wheelers from Rs. 22,500 to Rs. 10,000. On the other hand, the incentives for electric three-wheelers have been set at Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 50,000, depending upon the battery capacity. However, certain challenges remain:

  • Range Anxiety: Concerns about limited range and lack of widespread charging infrastructure continue to deter some potential buyers.
  • Higher Upfront Cost: Despite subsidies, EVs can still be more expensive than their gasoline counterparts, especially for higher-range models.
  • Charging Infrastructure Gap: The current network of charging stations needs further expansion, particularly in rural and semi-urban areas.

The government is actively working to address these challenges by:

  • Expanding Charging Infrastructure: Initiatives like the National Charging Infrastructure Plan (NCIP) aim to create a robust network of charging stations across the country.
  • Battery Swapping Technology: Promoting alternative methods like battery swapping stations can address range anxiety and reduce charging time.
  • Focus on Public Transport: FAME prioritises the electrification of public transportation like buses to create a cleaner and more efficient mass transit system.

Conclusion

The Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme serves as a critical pillar in India's journey towards a cleaner and more sustainable transportation system. While challenges persist, the government's continued commitment, coupled with technological advancements and infrastructural development, can pave the way for widespread EV adoption. As FAME evolves, it has the potential to revolutionise the Indian transportation landscape, contributing to a greener future for all.

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