The auto drivers, however, have highlighted the problem with this change as the city does not yet have a reliable charging ecosystem
4,000 fresh permits are to be reserved by Delhi’s transport department will reserve 4,000 fresh permits for electric auto-rickshaws registered in the city, as the capital takes action to add battery swapping or fast charging points to facilitate electric vehicles at CNG stations.
Citing senior officials, a Hindustan Times report said that the move is aimed at giving a new push to the rollout of the electric vehicle policy in Delhi that has been hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, high vehicle cost and lack of supporting infrastructure. The city currently has 95,000 registered auto-rickshaws, all of which run on CNG. There is a cap of 100,000 on registered autos in Delhi.
“Electric four wheelers are still very expensive, so we identified two sectors which will become cost-effective using Delhi government’s subsidies — two-wheelers and three-wheelers. Among these two, tapping the three-wheelers segment is easier as their numbers are manageable. So, I have approved a proposal wherein at least 4,000 auto rickshaw permits will be given to only those people who have an e-auto. This means that the remaining auto rickshaws in Delhi will largely have to be electric from now on,” transport minister Kailash Gahlot told the publication.
The department will reportedly start inviting applications for the same in a fortnight. The cost of a CNG auto-rickshaw is around ₹2-2.27 lakh, while an electric auto-rickshaw costs around Rs.1.5 lakh after the subsidy.
The auto drivers, however, have highlighted the problem with this change as the city does not yet have a reliable charging ecosystem.
Senior transport officials said this issue was discussed in the board meeting of Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) last week. “The Delhi government urged IGL to actively start planning for setting up battery swapping and charging points at their CNG stations in Delhi. The matter is under consideration,” the official said.
The Delhi EV Policy 2020 was notified in August last year with an aim to reduce air pollution and to kick-start the economy by spurring demand. It envisages that 25 percent of all new vehicle registrations should be battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2024. The policy offers subsidies, and road tax and registration, free waivers, for electric vehicles bought in the Capital.