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View from India: Delhi roads gear up for green mobility

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The Delhi Government has announced a new electric vehicle policy for the city. India, the world’s fourth largest automobile market, will embark on a new journey as the policy rolls out.

The Delhi Electric Vehicles Policy 2020 aims to establish Delhi as the electric vehicle (EV) capital of India and accelerate the pace of EV adoption across vehicle segments. The accent is on mass categories like two-wheelers, public or shared transport vehicles and goods carriers. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are anticipated to contribute to 25 per cent of all new vehicle registrations by 2024.

The upcoming fleet is expected to lead to lower carbon emissions and reduced air pollution.

Besides that, the other concern is to create streams of employment across the EV ecosystem. This is much required, as the pandemic has threatened many jobs across sectors. There could be new openings in driving, selling, financing, servicing and charging of electric vehicles. The gamut also extends to charging station operators and EV service mechanics. Other avenues will be in the form of charging infrastructure as well as the supply side of the value chain.  

Battery processing units, cell assemblies and component manufactures are expected to enrich the EV sector. EVs themselves will lead to R&D findings and breakthrough technologies. Recycled materials can possibly open channels for vendors to leverage the scrap segment.  

For large-scale adoption of EVs, the policy focuses on incentivising the purchase and use of electric two-wheelers and supporting the electrification of public or shared transport and goods carriers. Along with two-wheelers, incentives will extend to buses and light commercial vehicles that are used as goods carriers.

The policy aims to support the use of e-rickshaws and e-carts. The pandemic has made this road fleet popular as people prefer shopping online. Their preferences go beyond groceries and essentials. So last-mile delivery is essential but also needs to be cost-effective. Naturally, e-rickshaws and e-carts will be in demand.

As reported in the media Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi has said that the EV policy will include a scrapping incentive. This first-of-its kind measure will encourage users to replace their petrol or diesel-run vehicles with EVs.

The policy aims to strengthen public charging infrastructure. Energy Operators (EOs) will be invited to set up charging and battery swapping stations across Delhi in multiple phases by porting and providing Concessional Locations for charging stations at bare minimum lease rentals. At a later stage, charge stations can probably encourage private investments.

E-mobility is not something we are familiar with. Hence vocational courses shall be designed to train EV drivers, mechanics and charging station staff in partnership with auto original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and EOs. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) will set up World Class Skill Centres (WCSCs) for rendering these courses.

A dedicated EV Cell is being set up by the Delhi government to implement the EV policy. As well, a State Electric Vehicle Board is on the anvil.

Overall, a domestic ecosystem for EVs will help reinforce the national Make in India campaign.

Employment creation and reduction in air pollution in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) belt are key takeaways of the policy. Apart from that, the EV Policy is hoped to lower India’s dependence on oil imports. The Policy aligns with India’s pledge made in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The target is to achieve lower carbon emissions and reduce greenhouse emissions by 33-35 per cent by 2030.

Historically electric cars date back to the 19th century. More than a century later the automobile industry is going into reverse gear in its quest for electric vehicles or even zero emission vehicles — but with a difference. EVs of today (or tomorrow) are sleek, designed with powered engines and are technologically superior to the ones that once graced the roads over 100 years ago.

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