Delhi Leans On Aggregators, Logistics Firms For Quick EV Gains

Delhi Leans On Aggregators, Logistics Firms For Quick EV Gains

The AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) run Delhi state government has now notified a draft “aggregator’s policy”, under which ride aggregators and delivery services will have to mandatorily adopt EVs while procuring new fleet. Just two weeks back, the state transport minister had stuck to a gentle urging to aggregators, hence the move to mandatory shift might have caught many by surprise.

Vehicular emission is one of the main causes of air pollution in the city, which the government aims to control through its new  measures necessitating EV adoption. Indeed, transition to EVs is part of the Delhi Electric Vehicles Policy, 2020, which aims to increase the share of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to 25% of all the new vehicles registered in the city by 2024.

About 300 electric buses are also set to join the city’s public transport fleet by April this year, over a year behind the original  schedule

Delhi has 130,544 registered EVs as on Jan 15, the second highest among all states and union territories, as per government data. Moreover, EVs accounted for nine per cent of the total vehicle sales in the capital during September-November, six times higher than the national average, the city government announced last month, calling Delhi the emerging “EV capital of India”.

While the draft notification is yet to be released, officials said it will put it in the public domain soon, and comments will be sought from people for about 60 days. Subsequently, the policy will be reviewed and it will be notified for implementation with modifications if any. “The Kejriwal government has become the first in India to draft an aggregator’s policy to mandate EV fleet; draft policy has been placed for public opinion for 60 days,” a government statement said.

Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the policy will provide the necessary push to the aggregator industry to become environment friendly. “Aggregators and delivery services would need to ensure 10 per cent of all new two-wheelers and 5 per cent of all new four-wheelers are electric in the next three months while 50 per cent of all new two-wheelers and 25 per cent of all new four-wheelers are electric by March 2023,” he stated, adding, “The Delhi government will also be making a representation to the Commission for Air Quality Management to direct other states in the NCR area to also adopt the policy.”

The B2B logistics, and even Shared mobility aggregator platforms have already been making moves to go greener with EV’s.

Gurugram-based EV logistics tech delivery startup Zypp Electric welcomed the new development, stating that the government’s “aggressive approach” to tackle the air quality situation in the country’s capital was “commendable”. The company’s Co-founder & CEO, Akash Gupta, said, “This draft policy will not just help in boosting the adoption of electric vehicles at a large scale but also accelerate the presence of reliable charging infrastructure and other requirements to enable a smooth transition from ICE vehicles to Electric.”

The Kejriwal government’s plans were disclosed last month when officials spoke about them with a news agency: “The government is going to take two major steps to check vehicular pollution – we will ask all aggregators including Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, Uber, etc. to completely switch to electric vehicles. These services account for 30 percent of the registered vehicles in Delhi.”

“We are also considering directing dealers and petrol pumps not to supply fuel to vehicles without a (valid) PUC certificate,” the had official said. The proposal for the same is with Rai now and is expected to clear soon.

There are over 900 pollution checking centres authorised by the transport department in Delhi. These are set up at petrol pumps and workshops spread all over the city so motorists can get it done easily.

“We had done an audit of the number of people getting PUCs a few years ago and found that the level of compliance was low. This is a welcome move but the government has to ensure proper enforcement of the proposed rule,” Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director of a Delhi-based research and advocacy NGO, told a national daily earlier this month.

Last year, in view of the rising air pollution in the capital, the city government issued two public notices stating that people driving vehicles without a valid PUC certificate could face imprisonment up to six months or fine up to ₹10,000 or both. The errant drivers will also be disqualified from holding their driving license for three months, the latest notice, published in November, said. From the month’s first day to its seventeenth, the Delhi Transport department issued 3,446 challans worth over ₹3.5 crore to motorists for violating the PUC certificate norms.

Clearly, the city government is leaning towards punitive actions over incentives to combat air pollution and push sustainable transportation. Keep in mind that subsidies on four wheelers was limited to just the first 1000, even as the government has done precious little about other polluting causes like dust, thermal pollution and more. Commenting on the newly proposed aggregator’s policy, Amit Bhatt, Executive Director (Transport), WRI India, said the zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) mandate has played a significant role in accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles worldwide.

“For example, California in the US and China have mandates requiring manufacturers to put more ZEVs on the market. The European Union has proposed a voluntary target mechanism for ZEVs. However, ZEV mandates have not been part of India’s EV story as agencies fear a backlash from the incumbent auto industry. Delhi is the first state in India to propose such an initiative. If implemented well, it could be a game-changer for EV uptake in Delhi and the rest of the country,” Bhatt stated.

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