National capital charged up to make its roads green

The EV policy unveiled by the state govt last month, which offers users unprecedented incentives, could change Delhi’s transport landscape, besides reducing pollution levels

By:September 14, 2020 12:30 PM
Electric vehicle charging stations delhi ev policyImage for representational purpose only

When the Delhi government rolled out the Delhi Electric Vehicle (EV) policy on August 7, it set into motion an ambitious programme which, if successful, would make the National Capital a trail-blazer on environment-friendly transport. By offering a host of incentives for their adoption, especially in the two-wheeler (2W) and public transport and freight segments, it aims at EVs accounting for as many as one-fourth of vehicle registrations in the state by 2024.

The policy is a follow-up to Delhi’s “Green Budget” of FY19, which sought to reduce vehicular pollution and address the environmental issues choking the city’s air. The 2W segment, which constitutes two-thirds of new vehicle registrations in Delhi, stands to benefit the most from it. Incentives of up to Rs 30,000 are being offered on every purchase—it costs a mere 35paise/ km to run electric scooters and motorcycles. Besides, buyers will get up to Rs 5,000 for scrapping their old 2Ws running on petrol—this is a first in India.

Says Shamsher Dewan, vice president, ICRA, “since the high price of electric 2Ws has deterred prospective buyers, the attractive incentives under the policy should push their penetration.” As per the agency, taken together with the Centre’s FAME-II incentives, these make electric 2Ws 25-30% cheaper than the basic models of petrol 2Ws in Delhi.

To encourage food delivery, e-commerce and courier service providers to switch to electric 2Ws, the policy offers support from the Delhi Finance Corporation if they convert 50% of their fleet to electric by FY23 and 100% by FY25. In the auto-rickshaw segment, it offers an upfront incentive of Rs 30,000 on the purchase of EVs, and a 5% intervention on loans. Scrapping old autos will fetch buyers another Rs 7,500. In the four-wheeler segment, incentives of Rs 1.5 lakh are being offered on the first 1,000 electric cars to be registered.

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To boost the charging infrastructure and make parking spaces in new homes and workplaces ‘EV ready’, the government would be changing building bye-laws, mandating that 20% of parking capacity has adequate infrastructure for EV chargers. The power load capacity of building premises would have to take into account all charging points operating simultaneously. The government will provide up to Rs 6,000 for the first 30,000 charging points.

The state plans to fund the policy through the ‘feebate’ concept: levy of additional charges on inefficient polluting vehicles. It will be using 50% of the 25 paise/litre pollution cess collected from diesel sales, and there’s a plan to cover petrol sales under the cess as well. The government also intends to hike the road tax on petrol and diesel vehicles.

Further, the state would levy a congestion fee on cab trips taken through aggregators and ride-hailing service providers which don’t use EVs. Says Jasmine Shah, vice-chairperson of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi, the government think tank which has charted the EV roadmap, “we will not fall short of funds to achieve the policy’s objectives.”

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