There has been a lot of speculation on what the government will do for the third phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME).
For better or for worse, the first two iterations of the scheme drove both private and institutional sales of electric vehicles (EVs) but were beset by problems. Many of these problems were expected teething issues caused by a rapidly evolving industry.
However, looking at what the government is doing in other sectors, including the PLI schemes, say for electronics, the focus of FAME-III ought to be around a higher degree of indigenisation—not just demand creation through subsidies.
Here, India has to learn from China and how it created a self-sustaining EV ecosystem by not just investing across the entire value chain—starting from raw material resources and education to technology—but also fostering local champions.
While India needs to do more, it doesn’t imply that it should replicate everything from China. First and foremost, India must invest in creating intellectual property around the EV space. No matter what the ultimate size of the FAME-III proposal is, it should focus on investing in deep tech by creating centres of excellence around green technologies.
The IIT-Madras Research Park has been successful in creating an EV ecosystem with Ather Energy, which is part of its RTBI incubator, and subsequently, other startups like Exponent Energy and Bytebeam—spin-offs of Ather Energy.