India, California agree to collaborate on zero-emission vehicles

The US state has the world’s most advanced policies in the field of sustainable automobiles, as well as an ambitious 100% ZEV mandate by 2035


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Representative purposes only (Photo: Reuters)
Representative purposes only (Photo: Reuters)

Published: Fri 30 Sep 2022, 7:58 AM

India has entered into a collaboration with California for research and innovation in the field of zero-emission vehicles to spur the development of its nascent EV industry and address climate risks.

California has the world’s most advanced zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) policies, as well as an ambitious 100 per cent ZEV mandate by 2035. As part of the collaboration, the University of California's research institute — the Davis Institute of Transportation Studies — established a new India ZEV Research Centre.

The California-India ZEV Policy programme is aimed at supporting the ZEV uptake in India, spurring the development of its EV industry, and contributing to the country's industrial growth.

In addition to addressing policy, technology, and investment strategies for a ZEV transition, it would identify opportunities for India to emerge as a strategic leader in the global ZEV transition.

Announced in Pittsburgh last week on the sidelines of the Clean Energy Ministerial attended by Union Science and Technology Minister Jitender Singh, the California-India ZEV Partnership provides a unique opportunity for sub-national policy design as a lever for vehicle electrification, thereby helping harness the role of the states as key laboratories of innovation — in both the countries and the global south — officials said.

“While ZEV policies have been implemented in various parts of the world, the State of California is probably the only regional government to have the most comprehensive and oldest ZEV policy ecosystem,” said Deputy Chief of Mission, Indian Embassy, Washington, DC Sripriya Ranganathan, during a round table in Pittsburgh on 'Accelerating ZEV Transitions: California-India Policy Cooperation', last week.

According to Ranganathan, this California-India ZEV policy collaboration is very timely and will only further enhance the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

It will also elevate the amount of information and research brought to the transportation decarbonisation policy process in India, providing an opportunity to engage policymakers globally in well-orchestrated efforts, she explained.

“There already exists a strong precedent for a California-India ZEV Policy Collaboration with similar efforts in other sectors having been done in the past" — "collaborations on air quality and electricity sector reforms to name a few".

“As India prepares to host both the Clean Energy Ministerial and the G20 next year in 2023, this platform presents us a unique opportunity to ... build on our commitment to addressing climate risks in the coming year,” Ranganathan said.


According to the India Center for Energy and Transportation of UC Davis, "while the two regions have unique differences, such as India’s large portfolio of two and three-wheelers, there are also common challenges such as [the] electrification of hard-to-abate segments including medium and heavy-duty trucks,” it said.

Among other things, the programme will showcase the best practices in EV adoption from India, on international platforms as well.

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