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Electric Vehicles- A Breath Of Fresh Air for Delhi

With Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement of the Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy, Delhi’s future looks cleaner.

An Electric Vehicle Charging Station in New Delhi Source: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

With Delhi making its place into the list of most polluted cities in 2019, the administration introduced the odd-even system, a cumbersome yet partially effective method to reduce vehicle emissions in the city. However, the latest from the Kejriwal government is the introduction of the Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy, a policy that aims not only to reduce pollution levels but also boost the economy and create new jobs in the city. The policy which was approved earlier this year in January and was finally notified on 7th August.

Under the policy, the government claims to waive registration fee and road tax, providing an incentive of up to Rs.30,000 for two-wheelers and autos and Rs.1.5 lakh for new cars in the national capital. The goal is to increase the share of total electric vehicles in the city from the current 0.29% to 25% by the year 2024.

This is not the first scheme introduced to incentivize electric vehicles. Back in March, the centre introduced the FAME-II scheme according to which, the centre would outlay Rs.10,000 crore to introduce more EVs in the country especially the public transport fleet. Rs.8,596 of this amount was kept for incentives while Rs.1000 crore was earmarked for use in building and EV infrastructure including charging stations.

The automotive industry has shown a positive response to the new policy welcoming the decision. The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (which includes large corporations such as Tata Chemicals and Hero Electric to name a few) have said that this policy will provide more push to the EV architecture than the current FAME-II scheme by the centre. SMEV Director General Sohendar Gill said in a statement,

“The customers who were unable to get subsidy under the central government’s scheme due to certain restrictive norms, now have a chance to avail subsidy under this scheme.”

The industrial sector also stands to create a large number of jobs with the new policy.

So what does this mean for Delhi? For one, it aims to make the capital city the Electric Vehicle capital of India. Residents of Delhi can expect to see 35,000 new electric vehicles on Delhi roads by next year and 5 lakh new EVs by the end of 2024. Furthermore, the city expects to see cleaner air quality especially during the winter months when vehicular emissions, joined by soot-laden smoke from crop residue burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, tend to create thick smog.

In a 2018 report by the NITI Aayog during MOVE- a global mobility summit, the body laid out a theory according to which, if one assumes that each of India’s 170 million 2-wheeler vehicles uses half a litre of petrol a day or 200 litres per year, the total consumption of fuel just from these vehicles would amount to 34 billion litres a year. Out of these, if only 50% of India’s 170 million 2-wheelers were replaced by EVs, the country (considering the price of oil to be Rs.70/per litre with 50% of the cost accounting for import of crude) would save Rs. 1.2 lakh crore on imported oil alone .

Delhi’s decision is definitely a step in the right direction for the city. With more than 16 existing EV charging stations, the city is already leading the country by example as the new EV friendly city. Effective enforcement of the policy can only mean good for the national capital.

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