Centre approves electric vehicle-based public transportation for 11 cities

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New Delhi: In a fillip to India’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Mission 2030, the ministry of heavy industries on Wednesday announced the introduction of electric vehicles in the public transportation systems of 11 cities. The shortlisted cities are Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Jammu and Guwahati.

Announcing the move, heavy industries minister Anant Geete said, “The centre received huge response for introduction of EVs under the expression of interests invited by the ministry. As many as 44 cities across 21 states are willing to introduce EVs. This includes across all segments—buses, four-wheeler taxis and three-wheelers or autorickshaws.”

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government wants only EVs to ply on India’s roads by 2030 as part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the global agreement on climate change, and to reduce spending on oil imports, which, according to one estimate, could double to an annual $300 billion by that year.

Due to limited funds available under the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles in India) scheme, only 11 cities could be accommodated.

For the rest, FAME 2 will be launched in the next fiscal, said Geete, adding that a subsidy of Rs437 crore will be provided to state governments for buying public transport vehicles under Fame 1, including Rs40 crore for the installation of vehicle-charging infrastructure.

The selected cities will be required to finalize the tendering process and issue supply orders before 28 February 2018.

According to the ministry, 47 proposals from 44 cities across 21 states were received, requesting 3,144 electric buses, 2,430 electric four-wheeler taxis and 21,545 electric three-wheelers, which would require financial support of around Rs4,054.6 crore from the centre.

The minister said that full-transparency was maintained while shortlisting the cities and proposals were considered on parameters such as population, vehicle density, vehicular pollution, Swachhata Abhiyan ranking, coverage under the Smart City programme and the available financial outlay under Phase 1 of the FAME scheme.

The minister said public transportation under FAME was a pilot project and seeing the states’ demand, he was sure the government would be ready to provide additional funds in the next fiscal to fulfil the rest of the requests as FAME 1 would be completed in 2018. He said the promotion of electric vehicles will help in fighting rising pollution levels, as there will be zero emissions.

Under the current plan, the centre will provide Rs85 lakh to Rs1 crore as subsidy for a bus, about 60% of bus cost, Rs1 lakh to Rs1.24 lakh for a taxi or 10-15% of the cost and Rs37,000 to Rs61,000 or 20% for autorickshaws. Around 83,000 two-wheelers have already been subsidized under the FAME scheme.

On whether subsidy for hybrid vehicles under FAME had been stopped, Geete said, “Subsidy is stopped for mild hybrid vehicles. They neither save fuel nor help to resolve pollution. For hybrid vehicles subsidy is still intact. Government is giving it and it will continue.” He added that the heavy industries ministries had calculated an estimated Rs14,000 crore of subsidy will be required for the promotion of EVs as public transport and Geete would ask the government, accordingly, to support the ministry.

At present several departments and ministries at the centre are working for the promotion of EVs. These include the ministry of urban development, ministry of transport and government think tank NITI Aayog.