Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Govt plans to lease electric vehicles
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.