India’s national capital could soon be going green with a vengeance, if we take the state government’s recent updates to its Electric Vehicles (EV) policy. Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has set an ambitious 25% adoption rate for such vehicles in all new automobile purchases.
Not surprising, given that Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world, with India accounting for six of the top-10 such locations, as per data provided in the World Air Quality report presented by IQAir.
While setting some stiff targets for adoption of electric vehicles, the state officials also announced that the administration was committed to phasing out the use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles and will only hire EVs from now on.
These bold initiatives are part of a new “Switch Delhi” campaign whereby the state will be raising awareness around the use of electric vehicles, but also ensure that more buyers adopt these non-polluting modes of private transport.
Since promoting EV purchase is not the only cog in the wheel, they also need a proper charging ecosystem and probably this is the reason that that the campaign underscores means by which such a system can be put in place.
The official note says that residents welfare associations (RWAs), cab fleet owners, market associations, malls, cinemas and business establishments across the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi should be at the forefront of ensuring that a viable electric vehicle charging infrastructure is set up.
Moreover, new subsidies on purchase of battery-powered two and four-wheelers have been announced in addition to relaxations in road tax and registration charges. These subsidies and benefits align with the central government’s FAME II scheme presented here:
- a subsidy of ₹5,000/kWh or up to ₹1.5 lakh for the purchase of electric four-wheelers and ₹30,000 for electric two-wheelers. It also covers other electric vehicles too, such as electric auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws, electric freight vehicles, etc.
- Waiver of road tax and registration fee for all new EVs in Delhi.
- A scrappage scheme wherein EV buyers can avail additional incentives for scrapping their old ICE vehicles and buying a new EV instead has been announced in this new state EV policy
Why does Delhi need to boost EV adoption?
With massive vehicular traffic on Delhi’s roads, successive state governments have been trying various stop-gap solutions which include an odd-even policy, whereby private vehicle owners can only drive their cars or bikes on alternative days. However, these have been short-term measures leading to public inconvenience.
Delhi boasts of India’s widest mass rapid transport system (MRTS), but these local trains are chock-a-block during peak hours and require more rakes to ferry more. Which is why electric vehicles appear to be a viable option. And the “Switch Delhi” program has come not one day too soon.
Every year, the air quality reaches dangerous proportions and emergency measures are taken to ease the situation. However, as mentioned earlier, most of these are short-term, which is why an elaborate long-term plan to provide viable options that will reduce vehicular pollution is a welcome change.
The federal government, in its recent budget announcement, also touched upon this topic. It announced a new framework for scrapping out vehicles that are more than 20 years old, as part of an ambitious plan to have 100% EV adoption by 2030. It also proposed increasing re-registration costs on older vehicles besides implementing a Green Tax.