Delhi’s Electric Vehicle Policy: Should Your Next Car Be Green?
No, I don’t mean a green-coloured car, but an eco-friendly or rather electric one. If the Delhi government has its way, the city could very well be the first in India to see an increasing adoption of electric vehicles. As per its draft Electric Vehicle Policy 2018, it aims to have at least 25 percent of new vehicles being registered by 2023 as electric vehicles.
In 2017-2018, Delhi registered 7.2 lakh new vehicles, an increase from 6.8 lakh the previous year, according to the transport department. Still, 25 percent of this would mean close to 2 lakh electric vehicles being registered in the city alone. A tall ask? Perhaps.
Given the state of air-pollution in the national capital, the Delhi government is keen to see the rapid adoption of zero emission electric vehicles in the city, and is rolling out incentives for this through a fund it is creating.
This will be in addition to the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme offered by the Indian government.
Delhi Draft Electric Vehicle Policy 2018 Highlights
- Subsidy of up to Rs 22,000 for electric two-wheelers to bring cost to equivalent petrol vehicle
- Set up battery swapping & charging stations within every 3Km range
- Additional subsidy for models with swappable batteries
- Incentive of up to Rs 15,000 for scrapping BS-2 / BS-3 standard two-wheelers
- All road tax, registration, MCD parking fees to be waived for all electric vehicles
- Subsidy of Rs 12,500 and Rs 20,000 on electric autos and e-rickshaws, respectively
- Cashback of Rs 10 per trip for using e-autos or e-cabs
- Delhi to buy 1,000 electric buses in 2019
So is it the right time to switch to electric cars and bikes? The Delhi government and NGT have already started clamping down on older cars. All diesel cars over 10 years of age and petrol cars over 15 years old aren’t allowed to run in the city anymore.
Why Electric Vehicles Are Still Not Good Enough
There is still not enough choice. Period. Despite the high cost of petrol and diesel, consumers are still not looking at electric vehicles for the following reasons.
Charging Infrastructure: There are hardly any facilities to charge electric vehicles in the city. While charging points for electric cars are scanty, even charging an electric scooter is a task.
Range Anxiety: There are only three electric car models on sale at the moment - the Mahindra E2O, Mahindra e-Verito and Tata Tigor EV. These cars have a claimed range of only between 100 to 140 km per charge (which takes 5-8 hours). Real world conditions reduce range even more. Even among two-wheelers, range is about 80Km, and speeds are restricted.
High Purchase Price: The high cost of lithium ion batteries has made electric cars and bikes relatively unaffordable. Even with subsidies, they cost at least 50 percent to 70 percent more than an equivalent petrol or diesel model.
Charging Isn’t Green: While there may be no tail-pipe emissions from electric vehicles, India is still 70 percent dependent on thermal power. Even Delhi gets most of its electricity from thermal power plants - which means more emissions from coal to produce electricity. One is just shifting the source of pollution from the tail-pipe to the power plant.
Who Should Consider Electric Vehicles
However, all is not lost for electric vehicles. There are a set of consumers who can consider buying electric vehicles. Here are the criteria for considering an electric car or two-wheeler.
Short Running Distance: If your daily run is not more than a 20Km to 30Km and within the city only, you can consider an electric car as you won’t have to charge it that often.
Easy Charging Access: If your schedule is such that you have at least five to eight hours on hand to charge your vehicle and have the dedicated space to park and charge it, you can look at an electric car or bike.
Ecology over Economics: If you just have to contribute your share to protect the environment, at least in your locality, one can consider a green car. The purchase cost may be steep, but the satisfaction of trying to go green outweighs it.