The Delhi Government has recently released a fresh draft of their EV policy for the term 2019-20 which emphasises the use of electric vehicles (EV) in the national capital region. This much-needed policy has been ushered due to many reasons.
The air quality of Delhi has been an all-time record-breaking poor, landing it among the most unsafe cities to live in over the last few months. Other than the regular emission from vehicles, smoke issued from the millions of firecrackers at Dussehra, Diwali and the alleged chaff-burning by the farmers of NCR and Haryana had enabled the Pollution Index in the national capital to cross the “uninhabitable area” figure of 1,000 several times over.
Only recently, has the Pollution Index figure begun to recede thanks to the rain, the odd-even scheme implemented by the Delhi government last month, and the strong surface winds of mid-December. Recent studies have shown that the pollutant levels have come down to the satisfactory category in most regions of the state.
The primary source of air pollution must be handled in a way that is both result-oriented and sustainable. It might take a certain amount of time, but as is with significant long-lasting changes to any system the transportation scenario needs a paradigm shift and needs it now.
The primary focus is to bring down the emissions from transportation, and the fastest way towards it are battery electric vehicles. The policy aims to bring the number of these vehicles to at least twenty-five per cent of the total number of registered vehicles in the next five years. It also states clearly, that for all-electric vehicles purchased during these five years, the road tax and registration charge will be waived off, as an encouragement to the buyers and those who might understand the need for sustainable mobility.
The immediate part of its focus would be electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers since they comprise of a significantly large percentage of the state’s road traffic, and are also the primary contributors to its pollution index, other than diesel vehicles. As of now, electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers constitute only 0.2 and fewer percentages of the annual sales in their respective segments.
The government plans to induce a minimum of forty thousand electric vehicles on the state roads along with two hundred and fifty public charging stations in the next five years. Through this, they aim to bring down the oil and natural gas import cost by six thousand crores, in addition to cutting down CO2 emissions by nearly five million tons. In an elaborate vision, the government wishes to make Delhi the Electric capital of the country.
The policy includes several incentives for EV buyers, such as the one where they are offering five thousand rupees off per kWh of battery capacity. For example, a two-wheeler with a 4kWh battery will get a subsidised reduction of rupees twenty thousand in their purchase price.
The largest transition to electric two-wheelers is expected to be made by the delivery and taxi segments which will have converted their fleet to electric by at least fifty per cent, by the end of the policy term.
The electric car segment of the policy offers incentives of up to rupees ten thousand per kWh of battery capacity for the first thousand cars to be purchased. However, it will be restricted to rupees 1.5 lakh per vehicle. The government will strive to convert its entire range of commuter vehicles to electric, hopefully within a year of the statewide transition.
Three-wheelers are where the best rebate options currently lie, with battery and loan subsidies that might amount to half the cost of the vehicle. Bank loan interests are expected to drop to seven per cent from the standard-issue of twelve per cent and exclusively for EVs.
Electric vehicles will also enjoy an open permit system, though subjected to a maximum permissible limit in the city as directed by the Supreme court.
Buses will also be included in the list of beneficiaries of financial incentives for fixed battery and swappable battery models. The EV policy of the Delhi government will also work in sync with the GNTCD’s goal to fifty per cent conversion of their fleet to electric modes of public transport which would include smaller buses.
The backbone of any mobility system is the replenishment of energy and working on those lines; the government will be working primarily on the preparation for the EV transition that it hopes to bring to the state.
The most important part of this will be preparing the infrastructure for electric vehicles with an ample number of charging stations, EV-compliant vehicle parking holdings and fast-charging facilities. The government is looking at providing a hundred per cent subsidy on purchase of charging equipment for the first thirty-thousand charging points.
Every three kilometres of travel will get EV owners access to public charging and battery-swapping facilities owing to energy operators who would receive subsidies on rentals and lease. The government will also be providing capital subsidies for charger installation costs and purchase of batteries for the swapping stations.
The transport department will be getting its EV dedicated cell to ensure synchronised function and implementation of the said policies. Funding will be obtained from various sources, including pollution cess, road tax, and other compensation charges. Besides, a state EV board shall be established for the supervision and implementation of the policy.