Delhi government aims for 25% electric vehicles in 5 years to combat rising air pollution
Officials from Delhi government’s transport department said that the “Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy 2018” recognises that a new approach is required to kick-start EV adoption in Delhi and therefore seeks to put in place measures that address key hurdles in that direction. The Delhi government on Tuesday released a draft policy which seeks to kick-start the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in the capital. In five years, the policy targets 25% of all new vehicle registrations in the city to be electric. Officials said the draft policy is one of the 26 commitments made under the 2018-19 “green budget” in order to combat the rising air pollution in the city. Officials from Delhi government’s transport department said that the “Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy 2018” recognises that a new approach is required to kick-start EV adoption in Delhi and therefore seeks to put in place measures that address key hurdles in that direction. “About 30% of particulate pollution in winter is caused by vehicles. Rapid adoption of zero-emission electric vehicles is therefore of great importance here,” said Kailash Gahlot, Delhi transport minister on Monday after the policy was released for public comments. Recognising the need for a new approach to kick-start electric vehicle adoption, we have drafted this comprehensive policy with an aim to make Delhi a leader in adoption of EVs. We believe that going electric and breathing better are two sides of the same coin,” Gahlot said. The primary objective of the policy is to improve Delhi’s air quality by bringing down emissions from transport sector. “To do so, this policy will seek to drive rapid adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in a manner where they contribute 25% of all new vehicle registrations by 2023,” reads the draft policy. The policy envisages creation of a corpus of funds to incentivise every vehicle segment using electricity. All incentives, government officials said, are in addition to the incentives offered by the Government of India as part of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME India) notified in 2015. We knew that Delhi needed an EV push through a policy because Centre’s FAME India could not take off as intended. A few states like Maharashtra and Telangana have a policy. But our policy is more comprehensive,” said Jasmine Shah, vice-chairman of Delhi Dialogue Commission. Experts welcomed the move, though some questioned about the availability of EV-related infrastructure in the city. “This is a welcome move, but a lot of issues particularly that of infrastructure would have to be addressed. Cars in Delhi won’t just ply within the city. Will there be enough infrastructure outside Delhi as well? Then there would be issues of battery, technology and maintenance. The government needs to come up with adequate infrastructure and attractive incentives for the users to buy such electric cars,” said Ravindra Kumar, head of transportation planning and environment at CSIR-CRRI. Anjan Ray, director of Indian Institute of Petroleum, a government-funded research organisation which has retrofitted two cars and has transformed them into EVs, said the government would need to ensure that the mistakes made during the adoption of CNG are not repeated. “The government needs to make sure that infrastructure won’t be a problem, which was seen when CNG was rolled out. There were huge queues outside CNG stations. Multi-level car-parking areas in Delhi could be used as charging stations. This would also attract users to park their cars in the parking areas,” he said. The policy commits to strengthen the infrastructure for battery swapping and charging to provide access within 3km range from anywhere in Delhi. Additional fees on non-EVs will fund the bulk of corpus created to incentivise the adoption of electric vehicles, the draft reads. This policy will also seek to promote large-scale job creation in driving, selling, financing, servicing and charging of electric vehicles,” said an official. The government will gather public comments before presenting the policy before the Cabinet in a month.