Govt plans to lease elec­tric ve­hi­cles

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Am­rit Raj and Ut­pal Bhaskar am­rit.r@livemint.com

IN­DIA, THE BIG­GEST EMIT­TER OF GREEN­HOUSE GASES AF­TER THE US AND CHINA, PLANS TO CUT ITS CAR­BON FOOT­PRINT BY 33­35% FROM ITS 2005 LEV­ELS BY 2030

In an at­tempt to ex­pe­dite the adop­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs), In­dia is ex­plor­ing a plan wherein the union gov­ern­ment, var­i­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies, and state-owned firms will lease only EVs, two gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said.

The gov­ern­ment, its agen­cies, and state-owned firms cur­rently buy as well as lease cars, pow­ered by both petrol and diesel. Mint couldn’t as­cer­tain the num­ber of cars leased, al­though es­ti­mates from gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials put the num­ber in the thou­sands. That sort of num­ber should en­cour­age more car­mak­ers to make elec­tric ve­hi­cles and also in­crease sales.

The gov­ern­ment plans to lease EVs at the same rate at which it does petrol or diesel ve­hi­cles, one of the two gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the plan said. The plan is ex­pected to be first rolled out in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion that in­cludes Delhi (Delhi NCR) , which has a high ve­hic­u­lar pol­lu­tion level, the sec­ond added. Both asked not to be iden­ti­fied.

The plan comes against the back­drop of gov­ern­ment plans for a mass scale shift to elec­tric ve­hi­cles by 2030 so that all ve­hi­cles on In­dian roads by then —both per­sonal and com­mer­cial—are pow­ered by elec­tric­ity.

Any shift to elec­tric ve­hi­cles will help re­duce pol­lu­tion and fuel im­ports. In­dia’s en­ergy im­port bill is ex­pected to dou­ble from around $150 bil­lion to $300 bil­lion by 2030. The gov­ern­ment has set a tar­get of sell­ing six mil­lion EVs by 2020. EV sales in In­dia grew by 37.5% to 22,000 units in 2015-16, ac­cord­ing to the So­ci­ety of Man­u­fac­tur­ers of Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles.

Ex­perts be­lieve that the plan has the po­ten­tial to gain trac­tion.

“It is a wel­come move by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia (GoI) to buy or lease few thou­sand elec­tric cars for use in Delhi. GoI should also ad­vise se­lect pub­lic sec­tor units to set up EV charg­ing sta­tions at strate­gic lo­ca­tions un­der their CSR pro­grammes,” said Reji Kumar Pil­lai, pres­i­dent and CEO of In­dia Smart Grid Fo­rum, a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship of the power min­istry.

The gov­ern­ment is also work­ing on cre­at­ing in­fra­struc­ture for EVs such as charg­ing sta­tions, along with bring­ing down the cost of bat­ter­ies by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the tech­nol­ogy trans­fer. “The Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards has al­ready set up a com­mit­tee to draw the stan­dards for EV charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture,” Pil­lai added.

Queries emailed to the spokesper­sons of the min­istries of fi­nance, heavy in­dus­tries, road trans­port and high­ways, new and re­new­able en­ergy, and en­vi­ron­ment, forests and cli­mate change re­mained unan­swered.

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