Millennium Post

Delhi Goes Electric

Delhi Cabinet’s approval of the EV policy will strengthen the city’s electric vehicle infrastructure, allowing the National Capital to combat its pollution woes

The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government's Cabinet has approved Delhi's Electric Vehicle Policy — with a focus on two-wheelers and commercial vehicles to lead the change to switch — at a time when the state is grappling with severe levels of pollution. By 2024, the aim is to have 25 per cent of all vehicles as electric, reduce air pollution and create large scale jobs. The emphasis has been laid on two-wheelers and public transport since they contribute a significant share in Delhi's vehicle composition.

With the election around the corner, this could be the last big announcement by the Kejriwal government in Delhi. This policy could be a game-changer and a model for many other states of India. Delhi government has always faced a lot of criticism in terms of transport and hence, AAP can use this as a masterstroke to silence the critics.

While the Central government is looking to achieve the sale of only electric vehicles by the year 2030 to lead the e-mobility revolution in India, it is yet to lay out a distinct framework and policy to achieve the target and eliminate market uncertainties. Meanwhile, states are leading with their policies to achieve their own EV targets and Delhi is one of the first in that list. Currently, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have their final policies.

The primary goal is to improve Delhi's air quality by bringing down emissions from the transport sector. To do so, this policy will seek to drive rapid adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) so that they contribute to 25 per cent of all new vehicle registrations by 2024. The policy particularly focuses on electric two-wheelers, shared transport vehicles (e.g. three-wheelers/buses) and goods carriers/freight vehicles, since they contribute to the majority of vehicular pollution. Currently, electric two-wheelers constitute only 0.2 per cent of annual two-wheeler sales, electric cars contribute 0.1 per cent of car sales while that of electric three-wheelers (autos/goods carriers) is almost nil.

Within a year, the Delhi government is targeting the induction of 35,000 electric vehicles (2/3/4 Wheelers and buses), 1,000 EVs for last-mile deliveries and 250 public charging/swapping stations in Delhi. In the next five years, the Delhi government is targeting registration of 5 lakh new EVs in Delhi under the aegis of this policy. Over their lifetime, these EVs are estimated to avoid approximately Rs 6,000 crores in oil and liquid natural gas imports and 4.8 million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, which is equivalent to avoiding CO2 emissions from nearly 1 lakh petrol cars over their lifetime. They will also help avoid about 159 tonnes of PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter) tailpipe emissions.

For two-wheelers, the Delhi government will give Purchase incentive of Rs 5,000 per kWh of battery capacity. For an average e-two wheeler with 2kWh battery, the applicable incentive would be approximately Rs 10,000 as compared to Rs 5,500 presently being offered by DPCC as subsidy for battery electric vehicles.

For four-wheelers, the Purchase incentive of Rs 10,000 per kWh of battery capacity for first 1,000 cars will be subject to a cap of Rs 1,50,000 per vehicle. All leased or hired cars used for the commute of GNCTD officers will be transitioned to electric within a period of 12 months from the date of notification of this policy.

To build up charging infrastructure, all new homes and workplace parking will need to be 'EV ready' with 20 per cent of all vehicle holding capacity/parking required to be EV ready. The Delhi government will provide 100 per cent subsidy for the purchase of charging equipment — up to ₹6,000 per charging point for the first 30,000 charging points at homes/workplaces. Subsidy to be routed through DISCOMS who will be in-charge of charger installations.

The Delhi government will also set up the infrastructure for providing accessible public charging/battery swapping facilities within three km travel from anywhere in Delhi.

'Energy Operators' (EOs) will be invited to set up charging and battery swapping stations across Delhi in multiple phases by pooling and providing Concessional Locations for charging stations at bare minimum lease rentals. Delhi government shall provide a capital subsidy for installation of chargers. Nearly 100 per cent of net SGST will be provided as reimbursement to EOs for purchase of Advanced Batteries to be used at swapping stations.

To implement this policy, the Delhi government will set up a dedicated EV cell within the Transport Department for the effective day-to-day implementation of the Delhi State EV Policy.

Funding for various incentives under Delhi EV Policy will be obtained from multiple sources such as Pollution/Diesel Cess, Road Tax, Environment Compensation Charge (ECC), etc., using the 'Feebate' concept. It will be aggregated under an umbrella, non-lapsable 'State EV Fund'.

The government will also set up a state EV Board as the apex body for effective implementation of Delhi EV Policy 2019.

Sayantan Ghosh is a Delhi-based policy research fellow. Views expressed are strictly personal

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