Yearender 2020 special: How Delhi laid the base for India's EV revolution
A lot can change in a year and a lot has. ‘Electric Vehicles’ has been an important subject of the year 2020. It has been a year for propelling the push towards clean mobility with various countries setting targets for emission free transportation and many car manufacturers adding electric vehicles to their lineups as well as setting goals to become fully carbon neutral in times to come.
India’s transportation isn’t untouched by this evolutionary process. The country has been taking small but strong steps towards putting more electric vehicles on its roads with the aim of becoming a 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030. And here, the most important role is being played by the country's national capital that has picked up the baton and is leading the way forward. In August, Delhi’s CM Arvind Kejriwal announced the 'Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy' that chalks out the plans of making the share of EVs in the state's new car registrations reach 25% (five lakh) by 2024. The policy includes various incentives to make EVs affordable for the residents while also backing up the cause with a promise to support charging infrastructure. The capital is proving to be an example for other states by setting things in the right direction.
Affordability and infrastructure: Backbones of the Delhi EV Policy
Delhi is poised to charge up the path of electric mobility in the country with various incentives under its electric vehicle scheme. The Delhi EV Policy that will be in place for three years, will provide incentives of up to 1.5 lakh for the purchase of new electric cars while incentives of up to ₹30,000 will be provided for purchasing of e-two-wheelers, autos, e-rickshaws and freight vehicles. More than 100 models of electric vehicles, including 45 makers of e-rickshaws and 12 of four-wheelers, have been approved for subsidy under the new policy. These subsidies will be paid to eligible buyers of EVs within three days, as per the policy.
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The government will also provide low-interest loans for the purchase of electric commercial vehicles. While road tax forms a significant part of the final price of any vehicle, in October, the AAP government also announced the decision to remove this tax for battery-operated vehicles. Registration fee for such vehicles was also waived off under the state’s EV policy. Another important incentive under this scheme includes a scrapping incentive that will allow people to exchange their petrol or diesel-run vehicles.
Apart from these, the Delhi EV policy aims to set up 200 charging stations across the state in one year's time, so that there is a charging station within every 3 km. Currently, there are about 70 such stations to charge electric vehicles. A centralised tendering system will be adopted to hire an operator to install, run, maintain and upgrade the new charging stations. Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had said that the concerned group is already on identifying probable locations for installing charging infrastructure and a final list will be collated to begin work on these stations.
Dedicated EV Cell
Poised to become the nerve centre of the country’s electric revolution, Delhi’s EV policy is trying to pave the way for other cities to follow. The policy aims to help reduce carbon emissions by 4.8 million tonnes by 2024. Thus, in order to make sure that the policy is successfully implemented, the AAP government launched a dedicated 'EV Cell' earlier this month. The cell’s main objective is to monitor the implementation of this policy by engaging the main stakeholders.
The Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of the Delhi government will host the Delhi EV Forum with the support of independent think tank, RMI India, working in the field of clean energy and mobility. The Commission’s Vice Chairperson Jasmine Shah was quoted as saying by PTI, “Think-tanks, civil society organisations (CSOs), OEMs, Charging Infrastructure Providers, fleet-aggregators, first and last-mile service providers, and government agencies would all be invited to participate in these (engagements)." A series of quarterly meetings will be held by the forum in order to find solutions to problems that are identified in the process of EV adoption in the state.
Electrification of public transport
Public transportation forms a major part of Delhi’s transport system and electrifying this can be a shot in the arm for the state’s EV revolution. In fact, the central government is looking at complete electrification of public transportation in Delhi with subsidy to be provided for 1,000 electric buses. The example can later be followed in other states of the country. State Transport Minister Gahlot had announced that the centre has assured subsidy for electric buses as well as charging infrastructure. “The Centre's support will act as a huge catalyst to the EV policy and motivate more people and organisations to switch to EVs," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Delhi’s EV policy addresses both climate change and the health emergency arising from the high level of air pollution in the state. It also plays a crucial role in transforming the country’s EV scenario. The policy is being hailed as an example globally. The Dialogue and Development Commission’s Shah, while addressing the UNFCC 'Race to Zero Dialogue’ in November, underscored the five pillars of the state’s EV Policy. Fiscal incentives for specific vehicle segments that contribute maximum to vehicular pollution will prove to be crucial. Next is non-financial incentives such as the allowance of bike taxis to ply in Delhi only if they are EVs. Other key pillars include the setting up of charging infrastructure, public awareness campaigns about benefits of EVs and skill training related to jobs that will arise as a result of this transition to green economy.
The state's EV Policy has been praised by various industrialists, environmental experts as well as the auto industry stakeholders. Anand Mahindra said on record that Delhi may become the cradle of India's EV movement. And with more and more manufacturers coming out with EV offerings across different segments and price brackets, the rather audacious aim of having all all-electric cars on Indian roads may well be taking shape from the power lanes of the capital city.