Delhi HC bans e-rickshaws – India’s electric vehicle policy

incentive scheme for faster adoption of Electric Vehicles

July 2014 : Delhi High Court has banned electric rickshaws or e-rickshaws from the roads of the Indian capital. These e-rickshaws, known as tuktuks the world over, were a great improvement over the conventional rickshaw.
The reasoning of the court that these e-rickshaws are a safety hazard is spot on. As e-rickshaws are not regulated by the government they pose a safety hazard for the passengers. And the general attitude of rickshaw owners, both electric and otherwise, to overload passengers way beyond the capacity is well known.

The court considered the police data that 29 people have been injured and two killed in accidents involving e-rickshaws till June 30. This raises serious questions about the current model of e-rickshaws being used in the city.

But let us not confuse the facts that cheaper electric rickshaws catering to people travelling in a local area will be of great benefit to the people and environment of the metro. The safety issues and the build quality have to be improved.

India’s automobile customer is highly cost sensitive and thus the electric vehicles targeting this customer demographic has to be cost effective. Research cost of technology for electric vehicles, with the risk of taking this nascent technology to the market with the addition of stringent safety features will drive the prices high. It’s a complicated balance for automobile companies that are striving hard to create a new niche in the Indian automobile market.

According to the Economic Times
“According to industry estimates, if the cost of internal combustion engine car is Rs 5 lakh and that of electric vehicle is Rs 6.5 lakh, the government intends to offer 35 per cent of differential cost. In case of two-wheelers, it could be higher.

They estimate that if India’s electric vehicle market takes off, Rs 40,000 crore worth of fuel will be saved.”

Government’s answer to the electric vehicle policy is in the form of the following :
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP 2020)

As per ET – “The Mission Plan 2020 envisages demand incentive scheme for faster adoption of Electric Vehicles. An inclusive approach has been proposed in the scheme and all vehicle segments come under the purview of the incentive scheme, along with the complete range of electric and hybrid vehicles (Mild, Strong, Plug-in, BEV variants are covered).

The scheme proposes a comprehensive approach which includes providing charging infrastructure, development of indigenous technology, capacity creation and supply side measures to increase confidence and provide greater acceptability for electric car and other vehicles.”

The push on the electric vehicle policy by the Modi government can determine India’s future in areas of Energy Security and Environment concerns while also giving India a strong footing in foreign policy arena.