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NEW DELHI : Central think-tank Niti Aayog will hold pre-draft stakeholder consultations on Friday to invite feedback from industry participants on the government’s upcoming electric vehicle (EV) battery swapping policy.

The policy, announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget, will focus on creating a comprehensive framework, including regulatory, operational and technical elements, to incentivize battery swapping, people privy to the discussions told Mint.

It will initially focus on the commercial application of electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers.

According to the people cited above, NITI Aayog will work with the Bureau of Indian Standards and the department of science and technology (DST) to develop technical standards for batteries, including interoperability.

Interoperability standards for battery swapping will include protocols involving standardizing battery form and connectors to ensure seamlessness for customers who may use batteries and vehicles of different forms.

Making different battery specifications and chargers compatible with each other will be key to scaling up the swapping infrastructure, according to sources that Mint spoke to. Energy service providers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), however, have been urging the government to balance standardization and innovation to ensure that there is room for technologies and business models to evolve in this nascent scheme.

The policy is also likely to outline the criteria for range requirements, safety standards, performance assessment, and battery life.

One of the longstanding asks of energy service providers in the battery swapping space has been to iron out anomalies in goods and services tax (GST) rates and FAME-II incentives for EVs that offer direct charging solutions, vis-à-vis those that are sold with batteries-as-a-service (BaaS). The people cited above said that the draft policy will look to extend FAME-II subsidies to battery swapping operators and BaaS providers and also bring the GST rate on swapping services (18%) down to compete with EVs with plug-in charging models (5%).

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