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E-vehicle policy: Government to expand freight category

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Feb 18, 2019 09:56 PM IST

By expanding the freight category in the draft electric vehicles (EV) policy, the Delhi government plans to include in it all light commercial vehicles (LCVs) that are commonly used for last-mile travel.

By expanding the freight category in the draft electric vehicles (EV) policy, the Delhi government plans to include in it all light commercial vehicles (LCVs) that are commonly used for last-mile travel. The policy is likely to be notified by March this year.

Image for representation.(Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Image for representation.(Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

The government also plans to make an outlay for the implementation of the EV policy in its budget for the financial year 2019-20 — to be presented in the budget session starting February 22. The draft policy, which was published last November, aims to reduce air pollution in the national Capital by cutting down on vehicular emission.

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The draft policy, at present, only covers three-wheeler goods carriers, which were to be electrified through a slew of incentives and subsidies.

“We are considering expanding the category to include all LCVs, which are largely used to deliver essential commodities to retailers, kiosks and government cooperatives in the city,” a senior official said.

The official maintained, “If these LCVs, which largely run on diesel, are made to switch to electric mode, the number of goods vehicles using clean fuel will increase, thereby reducing daily emissions.”

The policy is currently being reviewed after experts and stakeholders, during a consultation organised by the government’s Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) last December, pointed out loopholes such as it being too heavy on subsidies. Besides, officials said, research is underway to find out how to include other kinds of batteries besides the swappable ones mentioned in the draft policy for electric vehicles.

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At present, the policy provides for additional subsidy to switch to electric vehicle models with swappable batteries.

The government has proposed to make battery swapping stations a part of the public charging infrastructure to be developed under the policy.

“The government, during its consultation, received recommendations from hundreds of expert groups including the UN. The feedback is being filtered and studied so that all recommenda-

tions can be incorporated in the final policy. For instance, we will encourage swappable batteries but we are looking into other viable option as well,” said Jasmine Shah, DDCD chairperson.

The major source of funding for the implementation of the policy will be from the State EV Fund, which comprise money collected as pollution cess, road tax among other environment taxes. But the government plans to allocate some money to meet gaps. “The matter is being studied by the finance department at present,” said a senior Delhi government official.

Transport and environment experts say inclusion of LCVs may not be feasible unless public charging infrastructure is also developed in the national capital region (NCR) from where a large number of goods carriers come to the city.

Ravindra Kumar, head of transport planning and environment, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Road Research Institute (CSIRCRRI), said, “In case of LCVs, charging infrastructure is needed across NCR due the long trip lengths. Many of these vehicles are part of the big supply chain transporting essentials such as milk packets or vegetables and come from the neighbouring towns. In this case, instead of going for fully electric vehicles, hybrid models may work better. Electrifying these vehicles could be a good option if they are used for short hauls.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vatsala Shrangi joined HT Editorial team on July 2, 2018 as Principal Correspondent. She covers Environment, Civic bodies and the Social Sector.

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