Towards green mobility
Switching to cleaner fuels has been identified as one of the viable options to curb vehicular emissions that profusely contribute to the poor air quality of cities like New Delhi. Infamous for having a significant number of poor air quality days, New Delhi must spearhead the transition to cleaner/alternative fuel. Having announced the addition of 1000 electric buses to its public transport fleet, and proposed a draft electric vehicle policy, Delhi is set to undergo various changes to remedy its poor air quality. With an enormous number of vehicles registered, Delhi, at this pace, will choke in a matter of years. Winters have reminded us that we cannot afford such poor air quality days. Summers, too, have not been great. Afforestation is a great move but hardly counters the grave damage to air caused by persistent vehicular emissions. Banning diesel gen sets and cars, to some extent, is also not a full-proof viable option due to an absurdly large number of diesel vehicles in the city. Construction of eastern peripheral highway as no doubt reduced heavy cargo footfall within the city area but is hardly a remedy. In such cases, electrification of transport remains a likely alternative. The Draft Delhi Electric Policy 2018 is the first step. This has to be followed by the construction of charging stations which are again preceded by India's plan to come up with indigenous standards for charging stations for its emerging electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem. It cannot be overruled that a lack of charging stations is proving to be the biggest hurdle to adoption of electric mobility and hence, development of indigenous standards will give impetus to the transition besides reducing the cost of developing related infrastructure. Defining electric mobility down to the grassroots for Delhi will be highly beneficial in the long run. It also augurs well for the plans Delhi is looking forward to implementing in the interest of reducing air pollution. Delhi government's scheme to promote EV use by delivery services is a step that will provide a sizeable impact on advancing green mobility and curbing air pollution. And, delivery services have become an integral part of the consumer market today. From food to groceries to even services, Delhi has everything been delivered at door-step and hence, green delivery service has the potential to be a game-changer. Setting EV targets for car manufacturers is also one of the decisions which India will have to take in the near future but for now, the country look set to order cab companies to go electric. It certainly cannot be an overnight transition. Cab companies such as Ola, Uber, etc., will have to set targets for slow but effective transition into electric mobility of their fleet. India, to this end, must profusely develop infrastructure supporting electric mobility in order to facilitate the transition and ensure sustainable development.