By Elton Gomes
In efforts to boost the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in India, transport minister Nitin Gadkari has said that EVs and vehicles running on alternative fuels, such as CNG and ethanol, will no longer require permits to ply on roads. Gadkari added that vehicles running on bio-CNG also will not require permits.
“We have decided to exempt EVs and all vehicles, including auto rickshaws, buses, taxis, run on alternative fuel like ethanol, biodiesel, CNG, methanol and biofuel, from permit requirements. We have taken the decision to make these permit-free,” Gadkari said as reported by Business Today. The Union minister was speaking at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers’ (SIAM) 58th convention, held in New Delhi on Thursday.
Gadkari said that the government was also planning to convert two-wheelers into taxis in non-metros, and the auto industry is being encouraged to use waterways for logistics to lower costs as well as pollution levels.
Gadkari also said that all states have lent their support to the Centre’s decision to do away with permits for such vehicles. Although Gadkari did not mention a deadline, sources told the Economic Times that the decision could be implemented within three months.
It has to be noted that this decision does not apply to hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.
Transport industry reiterates the need for long-term planning
Speaking at the SIAM convention on Thursday, Gadkari said that the government will soon be eliminating the requirement of speed governors. In an earlier session at the convention, the transport industry put forward its demands for speedy infrastructure development and better roads. The industry reiterated the need for a long-term regulatory and policy roadmap in order to ensure better planning of investments.
SIAM president Abhay Firodia noted that uncertainty prevailed since policies were changed in an ad hoc manner. Firodia called for a 10-year policy roadmap for the transport sector.
“This week, we will be having the first meeting to discuss the draft of that roadmap,” Abhay Dhamle, Secretary, Road Transport and Highways Ministry, said, the Hindu reported. Minister for Heavy Industries and Enterprises Anant Geete said that the government was with the industry and “will do whatever we can do to help the industry grow.”
India promotes electric vehicles
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said that India will soon launch a new policy to promote the production and use of electric and alternate fuels-driven vehicles. “Clean mobility powered by clean energy is our most powerful weapon in our fight against climate change,” Modi said at the MOVE Global Summit in New Delhi. “We should champion the idea of ‘clean kilometres’.”
In the recent past, India has taken initiative to boost the use of electric vehicles. To reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, India has set a target of having at least 15% electric vehicles on its roads in the next five years. The absence of comprehensive policies in automobile electrification seems to have prevented India from making its mark in the field. However, India seems to be catching up, and carmakers including local units of Hyunda and Suzuki have announced plans to introduce electric vehicles in India by 2019.
As per a joint study conducted in June 2018, overall power demand arising from electric vehicles is estimated to help utilities earn roughly $11 billion in revenues by 2030. The increase in adoption of EVs across India will be instrumental in changing its power sector.
Tata Motors, in May, had inked a pact with the Maharashtra government to deploy 1,000 electric vehicles from its range of passenger and commercial vehicles across the state. As part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked, Tata Motors along with Tata Power would help in the setting up of EV charging stations across Maharashtra.
How practical is the India’s e-vehicle plan?
An top official from Toyota was of the opinion that India’s ambitions of having all cars electrified by 2030 is “not practical, and it’s not the way forward”. The official instead advocated a technology-agnostic approach that gave customers a variety of options as well as provided leeway to carmakers. Shekar Viswanathan, the vice-chairman and whole-time director at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, argued that EVs alone might not be the solution to India’s pollution problems. He claimed that only customers travelling short distances might choose an EV, while others might choose a hybrid car.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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