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Electric Vehicle Policy for combating Pollution in India

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    14th Feb, 2019

According to an IIT-Kanpur study, done for 2013-14, vehicles are the second largest and the "most consistent" contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5 during winters.

Issue

Context:

During winters, the condition only worsens. According to an IIT-Kanpur study, done for 2013-14, vehicles are the second largest and the "most consistent" contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5 during winters.

In terms of percentage, vehicular pollution contributes about 20-25 per cent of overall air pollution during winters in Delhi. Action needs to be taken to minimize the use of private vehicles, which contribute nearly 40 per cent to air pollution in Delhi

About:

Pollution situation in India

In India, transport sector is one of the fastest growing sectors. Within this sector, two-wheelers are the dominating sector, which accounts for almost 75% of total vehicle in country. These increasing numbers of vehicle raise the local challenges such as congestion on road and deterioration of air quality.

Transportation accounts for about 11 per cent of India's carbon emissions and is a major source of air pollution in several cities nationwide. As many as 14 of the world’s top 20 most-polluted cities are in India, according to a 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report.

India’s policy concerning electric vehicles and its analysis

India’s EV policy aims to cut emissions, even though more than 70% of electricity is generated from dirty sources such as coal. With thermal power as the mainstay, more will be needed to seamlessly charge the batteries for electric vehicles, thereby denting the credibility of India’s emission-reduction goals. 

That notwithstanding, the plan envisages 30% EVs on India’s roads by 2030. With an existing vehicular population of more than 210 million and swelling, it’s hard to see how this transformation will happen in about a decade. 

Compare this with countries like Britain, chasing similar outcomes. Britain seeks to halve fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, but has just about 38 million vehicles on its roads, is power surplus, and by 2025, will eliminate coal-fired power. All of which lends some credence to its green goals. 

Background

What has happened over the past 2 years?

The government had initially decided to promote only electric vehicles to reduce pollution levels. It had also proposed to shift all public transport and 30% of private vehicles to electric by 2030. Later, it shelved its plan to form an India EV policy and decided to promote zero-emission technologies. Through Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), the government put out a tender to procure 10,000 electric cars, which was won by Tata Motors Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra. Procurement has been delayed due to lack of car charging points.

Only electric 3 wheelers have been partly successful, however, not much diffusion of electric vehicles has happened within 2 wheelers, 4 wheelers and city bus fleets.

How are Indian firms placed in the game?

Mahindra has a first-mover advantage in electric mobility. The company plans to make 60,000 electric vehicles annually from 2020. The Indian unit of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd is expected to launch its electric vehicle in 2019, while Maruti Suzuki will enter the market by 2020. Tata Motors has developed the requisite technology. Many two-wheeler firms have also invested in developing products in the electric space.

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