How Delhi hopes to become India’s electric vehicle capital !

The Delhi Electric Vehicles Policy was notified on August 7, over eight months after the state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved it. Following the notification, Kejriwal described it as a step towards reducing pollution levels.

Delhi is among the world’s most polluted cities, with its air quality turning particularly hazardous with the onset of winter as gaseous pollutants from vehicular emissions are joined by soot-laden smoke from the fields of Punjab and Haryana where farmers set alight farm residue after harvesting. The bursting of firecrackers during Diwali also aggravates the matter.

The policy has been notified for a period of three years, following which it is often renewed within the present form or after suitable amendments.

What is the primary objective of the policy?

The policy, consistent with its bare text, aims to form Delhi the electrical Vehicle (EV) capital of India. it’s set an ambitious target of ensuring that by 2024, EVs account for 25% of all new vehicle registrations within the capital to cause a “material improvement” in Delhi’s air quality by reducing emissions from the transport sector.

What is the share of vehicular emissions in Delhi’s pollution?

According to an IIT-Kanpur study, which remains the foremost authoritative source apportionment analysis (share of specific sources of pollution) of Delhi’s pollution till date, vehicles are the second largest and therefore the “most consistent” – around 20-25% – the contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5, which are fine particulates measuring up to 30 times finer than the width of human hair. The Supreme Court-monitored Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had also acknowledged that industrial and vehicular pollution accounts for the best share of Nitrate particles formed from nitrogen oxides and sulphate particles formed from sulphur dioxides within the city.

What promise does the EV policy hold in cleaning up Delhi’s air?

Currently, the share of EVs is negligible in Delhi, be it two-wheelers, autos or cars. Within subsequent one year, the Delhi government aims to induct a minimum of 35,000 EVs across segments and therefore the five-year plan envisages induction of 5 lakh EVs. “Over their lifetime, these EVs are estimated to avoid approximately Rs 6,000 crores in oil and liquid gas imports and 4.8 million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, which is like avoiding CO2 emissions from nearly 1 lakh petrol cars over their lifetime. they’re going to also help avoid about 159 tonnes of PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter) tailpipe emissions,” consistent with a politician document.

What roadmap does the policy layout in transitioning to electric mobility?

The policy is incentive-driven, which the govt believes will encourage people to shop for new EVs, scrap cars running on petrol and diesel. it provisions for low-interest loans for battery-run commercial vehicles like buses and trucks. The policy lays a specific emphasis within the category of two-wheelers, autos, and goods carriers and can, for the primary time, allow ride-hailing services like Ola and Uber and last-mile delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy to work battery-driven bikes. “All two-wheelers engaged in last-mile deliveries (e.g., food delivery, e-commerce logistics etc.) are going to be expected to transition 50% of their fleet to electric by March 2023, and 100% of their fleet by March 2025,” the policy states. Currently, two-thirds of the latest vehicle registrations in Delhi comprise two-wheelers. From 2020, the govt has also committed to making sure that fifty per cent of its new public bus purchases are pure electric buses.

What are the various purchase and scrapping incentives on offer?

In the case of bikes, a sale incentive of Rs. 5,000 per kWh of battery capacity shall be provided per vehicle to the registered owner, subject to a maximum incentive of Rs 30,000 per bike. Up to Rs 5000 are going to be granted for scrapping old petrol and diesel-run bikes and buy EVs. Those buying e-autos will get Rs 30,000 subsidy and Rs 7500 additional subsidy for scrapping old CNG-run autos. there’ll be no cap on the number of e-autos, unlike CNG-run ones which cannot exceed 1 lakh within the city. Purchase of e-rickshaws also will accompany a Rs 30,000 inventive. Similar incentives are going to be granted to the acquisition of the primary 10,000 battery-driven goods carriers. just in case of four-wheelers, the primary 1000 purchases of e-cars stand to urge subsidies of up to Rs 1.5 lakh per vehicle. And lastly, the road tax and registration fees shall be waived for all EVs, says the policy.

What about the creation of charging infrastructure to support this major transition?

The policy recommends changes in building bye-laws in order that all new homes and workplaces are ‘EV ready’ with 20% of all vehicle holding capacity/parking equipped with charging points. the acquisition of charging points also will be incentivised to the tune of Rs 6,000 per charging point for the primary 30,000 such points. the prevailing building owners and RWAs are going to be “encouraged” to imitate through similar incentives also . The policy lists as its key objective the creation of public charging facilities within three km travel from anywhere in Delhi by inviting companies to line up charging and battery swapping stations at “bare minimum lease rentals” and full reimbursement for purchases of swappable batteries by them.

What about recycling of batteries?

The policy acknowledges that lack of adequate reuse or recycling of batteries shall have a “high environmental cost”. Typically, an EV needs two batteries in its lifetime of around 10 years. However, the policy doesn’t have details on ways and means to recycle batteries. It merely states “the policy shall encourage the reuse of EV batteries that have reached the top of their life and fixing of recycling businesses together with battery and EV manufacturers that specialise in ‘urban mining’ of rare materials within the battery for re-use by battery manufacturers.”

Who will fund the incentives?

The policy refers to the ‘feebate’ concept’, which refers to the concept under which inefficient polluting vehicles incur a surcharge, while efficient ones receive a rebate. Accordingly, it seeks to make an EV fund made from pollution cess on, additional road tax on petrol and diesel vehicles, “especially luxury cars”, congestion fee on rides taken using cab aggregators (except those running on batteries). Currently, a Rs 25 paise per litre cess is levied on the sale of diesel within the city, which makes up the air ambience fund. monthly, 50 per cent of the quantity collected therein fund is going to be transferred to the EV fund. And if the govt still falls in need of money, the Supreme Court’s assistance is going to be sought in using the Environment Compensation Charge fund, made from the tax imposed on commercial vehicles entering Delhi.

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