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Dreaming of an All-Electric Vehicle India: The Delhi Electric Vehicles Policy, 2020

Indian cities have been recognized as the most polluted ones with 21 of the 30 most polluted cities belonging to India when it comes to air pollution. While steps are being taken, both at a national and international forum to curb pollution, the adaption and implementation remain an issue.
When it comes to adaption, India has had a solid record with country adapting policies giving out bold results. When it comes to electric vehicles, the transport minister made a bold statement that India would adapt and move to 100% electric cars by 2030. This statement was made in consonance with the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan presented by India empowering electric vehicles that meet customer performance and cost possibilities through collaboration among Government and different industries for the progression and improvement of indigenous assembling limits, required infrastructure, consumer awareness, and innovation to ascend as a pioneer in the EV Two Wheeler and Four Wheeler market on the planet. This policy depended on the 2010 policy to incentivise Electric Vehicles that zeroed in on electric vehicles activity by Clean Energy Ministerial which a multi-government procedure is significance to revive the reception of electric vehicles around the globe.
The Delhi Electric Vehicles Policy, 2020 comes ten years after the Electric Vehicle Initiative was launched under the Clean Energy Ministerial and 8 years after India launched the National Electric Mobility mission plan. The policy expects to build up Delhi as the electrical vehicle capital and quicken the pace of adoption across vehicle fragments which will prompt pollution control from current Internal Combustion Engine vehicles, a classification that has been the second largest and the most steady pollutant contributing around 20-25%.
The Delhi Policy on Electric Vehicles aims to make arrangements and incentives so that the Battery Electric Vehicles will attract more people to contribute to 25% of all new vehicle registrations by 2024. Currently, electric vehicles contribute around 0.29% of the total registrations. Provisions have also been made for the establishment of charging points at places where people usually visit like workplaces and homes. The parking areas need to be made ‘EV’ ready as per the policy that is at least around 20% of the total area should have the equipment required for the charging of Electric Vehicles. Another key objective of the policy is to arrange for charging facilities within 3 km of travel from anywhere in Delhi.
A Purchase incentive of Rs. 30,000/- per vehicle would be given to an owner of E-Carriers or E-rickshaw or E-cart or E-autos who acquires an e-auto permit and the government would pay 5% of the interest on the loan for the purchase. This has been done to promote Self-employment and wide ownership of electric vehicles. Further, a 100% grant on the procurement of charging gear of up to Rs. 6000/- for every charging socket for the initial 30,000 charging sockets shall be given as per the policy.
The concept of feebate has been introduced by the government. The concept basically means wherever energy-efficient or environmentally friendly practices are adopted, they need to be followed and when any entity or person is unable to follow such practices then some sort of penalty is imposed. In the context of this policy, inefficient polluting vehicles incur a surcharge while efficient ones receive a rebate.
Every month, 50% of the total amount collected under the Air Ambience Fund will be transferred to the EV fund as per the policy. This fund is collected from taxes levied from the surcharge levied from the combustion engines. Supreme Court’s assistance will be sought in using the Environment Compensation Charge fund, composed of tax imposed on commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
Even though the policy seems a good one, there have been questions as to what effects will switching to Electric Vehicles bring for the competition among the domestic auto sector and employment. Apart from these, there are concerns on the technological front such as the lifetime & performance of battery along with degradation under varied operative conditions and voltage of charging points but those are not relevant to the economic concerns, although are important for consideration.
India still needs to accomplish commercial Lithium-Ion Battery cell manufacturing capacity. Currently, India relies on imports. To overcome the surge of capital outflow and secure the creation against all potential supply-chain interruptions, the Government of India has made some motivated arrangements to indigenize cell manufacturing. In 2018, a report by NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute stated that for meeting its Electric Vehicle ambitions through 100% local production of batteries, India requires at least 3,500 GWh of batteries costing of INR 20 lakh crore.
On the Recycling Ecosystem, policy notes:
7.1 “…Batteries that have reached their end of life shall have to be either reused or recycled…”
Even though recycling is the most effective option for maximum utilization of the batteries and reduces negative environmental implications however worldwide, only about five percent of utilized Lithium-Ion Batteries are recycled and reused, because of financial, technical, and other constraints. For example, the European Union and the United States recycle less than 5% of used Lithium-Ion Batteries. When the question of safe disposal and recycling of Lithium-ion batteries arose in India, the Minister of State, MoEFCC stated that no guidelines have been developed for the safe reprocessing of lithium-ion batteries and the lithium-ion batteries used in electrical and electronic equipment are being regulated through E-Waste Management Rules, 2016. On the recycling plants, it was answered that there is no authorized recycling facility for used lithium-ion batteries, generated from Electric Mobility.
This presents a grim situation as recycling and reusing the batteries is one of the main focuses of the policy. If the batteries are not recycled, the cost of using new batteries every time would incur a burden not only on the state but on the consumer as well ultimately leading to fewer people being attracted to electric vehicles.
The policy neglects how the government of Delhi intends to oblige on such enormous excess energy demand. As per Niti Aayog’s Zero Emission Vehicle 2018 report, speculation of INR 6 to 9 lakh crores is needed to produce batteries by 2030. With COVID-19, supply chains have been hampered and there is no budget plan dispensed for the Electric Vehicle fund.
Switching electric vehicle batteries is a costly issue. Electric vehicles don’t have second-hand sales value. This is on the grounds that initially, supplanting the battery is extravagant; secondly, the lack of charging points makes it undesirable by many.
The state of DISCOMs in India is declining and with the onslaught of COVID-19, it has been seen that DISCOMs would wind up owing lenders a stunning Rs 4.5 lakh crore. At the point when the emphasis is indicated on Delhi itself, it must be noticed that by 2019 the legislature has been successful in helping the DISCOMs in paying the debts paying off the debts from Rs 11,406 crore to Rs 8,377 crore. Be that as it may, DISCOMs again are in an obligation and with the surge of COVID, again the debts appear to be going up. In August 2014, DISCOMs appealed to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to break down the extraordinary effect on their salary because of the conclusion of ventures, commercial units, and a plunge in consumer payments and mentioned to reduce the subsidies.
Putting an extra obligation on the DISCOM to connect chargers at their client’s premises may add a burden on them as the expense of connecting a charging point is around Rs 30,000-1,60,000. This range is for the moderate evaluation, 240 V circuits. On this, the Delhi Government giving an award of 100% to the purchase of charging gear up to Rs. 6000/ – per charging point for the initial 30,000 charging points isn’t very remarkable assistance for the DISCOMs.
It has been asserted that 500,000 electric vehicles will be on the roads of Delhi in 5 years. As of now, merely 83,000 electric vehicles are registered in Delhi, and just 900 of these are private cars. To close this humongous gap among the real world and aspiration, the electric vehicle strategy needs to answer a portion of these consuming questions. Delhi has just chopped down electric vehicle charging rates yet how compelling is this from a consumer interest viewpoint? Are individuals prepared to give up their petrol or diesel vehicles and pick electric vehicles, swooning over dim impetuses?

Aadarsh Anand is a Final Year Energy Law Student from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Uttarakhand, India.