Hydrogen-fuel cells work in a clean manner unlike hybrids or mild-hybrids – accounting to zero pollution. The FAME II subsidy scheme that was introduced sometime back though takes into account only the latter varieties. So, in essence, you will find carmakers like Maruti Suzuki or others vying for this slice of pie. The benefits are sometimes passed on to customers. The same applies to even proper electric vehicles. However, Ashwini Kumar, an advocate by profession, has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court. According to the petition, the plaintiff “was seeking the Court’s direction to expand the scope and ambit of the FAME India Phase II scheme and extend and encompass the hydrogen energy infrastructure.” Chief Justice D N Patel and Jasmeet Singh heard this plea today. The division bench was disappointed to note that the “government had spent merely 2%, i.e. Rs 20 crores out of a budget of 1,000 crores for setting up charging infrastructure for EVs across the country. The Court further observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had hit only in 2020, however the FAME II scheme was in effect since March 2019.”
Ashwini’s plea generally talks about how the FAME II scheme was introduced to ensure that electric vehicle manufacturing be made viable in India. It also spoke about the reduced dependency on fossil fuels and thereby reducing the import cost. The impact of ICE on the environment was also detailed. The petitioner wants to appeal to the court to ask the government to allocate a part of the proposed FAME II funds to promote as well as incentivise hydrogen-fuel cells. Hydrogen refuelling stations too should get these benefits, requested the petitioner. In other parts of the world, hydrogen-fuel cells have often been used in commercial applications and are good as long-distance travelling vehicles too.
Hyundai has developed a hydrogen-fuel cell vehicle abroad and if the Indian government were to incentivise and adapt these to our conditions, we might see early adopters. Hydrogen is said to play an important part in achieving NETZERO emissions. The benefits if the High Court agrees to what has been said in the plea is that more and more manufacturers will come forward with their hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles. There will be discounts, similar to what are on offer for an EV buyer, for hydrogen-fuel cell vehicle adopters. The next hearing on this plea will be three days later i.e on 18/4/21.
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