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Home / India News / Old vehicles can now get electric, hybrid makeover

Old vehicles can now get electric, hybrid makeover

Such modification can potentially help turn old petrol- or diesel-run vehicles into more eco-friendly versions, although experts warn that the retrofits may be expensive.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2019 07:53 IST
Anisha Dutta
Anisha Dutta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Modification can potentially help turn old petrol- or diesel-run vehicles into more eco-friendly versions, although experts warn that the retrofits may be expensive.
Modification can potentially help turn old petrol- or diesel-run vehicles into more eco-friendly versions, although experts warn that the retrofits may be expensive. (HT File Photo )

The Union government has made changes to the law in order to allow people to convert conventional vehicles into electric vehicles or hybrids, a decision that officials said could help fight air pollution.

Such modification can potentially help turn old petrol- or diesel-run vehicles into more eco-friendly versions, although experts warn that the retrofits may be expensive.

“In order to give a boost to hybrid electric and electric vehicles, we have issued a notification providing specifications and a better mechanism for all cars to be converted. It will also help in reducing vehicular emissions,” a senior official at the ministry of road transport and highways said, adding that the ministry had laid down retrofitting specifications for vehicles with hybrid electric or pure electric systems. The official asked not to be named.

According to the notification, seen by HT, the ministry amended the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, to enable retrofitting of existing vehicles with electric kits or electric battery-operated systems.

The move comes against the backdrop of the government’s aim to move 25% of transportation to electric vehicles by 2030 in a bid to reduce air pollution, blamed on a combination of factors including vehicular emissions and stubble burning by farmers in the countryside.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is also likely to meet on Thursday to clear the Centre’s much-awaited electric vehicle policy titled “Strategy for Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage”. The policy, delayed by four years, was steered by the government’s apex think tank NITI Aayog, which was tasked with rolling out the ambitious electric vehicle plan in 2018.

A conventional vehicle can be turned into a hybrid or fully electric one by replacing components of the engine or the drivetrain. A hybrid vehicle, several of which are in the market, uses both – a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor.

The notification lays down guidelines and specifications that the modifications will need to conform to. These guidelines and specs are divided into three categories: hybrid conversions for vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonne; hybrid conversion for vehicles above 3.5 tonne, and pure electric conversions for all classes of vehicles.

According to an expert, this policy change will complement the recent unveiling of phase II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) Electric Vehicles (FAME) policy, which offers subsidies and incentives for electric vehicles in the public transport sector. “Under FAME II, subsidy has been provided only for vehicles used for public transport and vehicles using advanced battery like a lithium ion battery. In terms of retrofitting from conventional vehicles to full electric, this has its own legal and commercial issues, as also specialised skill set required for conversion,” said Pranavant, a partner at the consulting firm Deloitte India.

The Centre had also permitted private charging of vehicles at residences and offices. The government plans to set up charging stations every 25 km on both sides of highways and roads.

On December 14, the power ministry issued guidelines for setting up charging infrastructure across the country’s major corridors.

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