The Delhi government is upbeat about its recently launched Electric Vehicle (EV) policy, as it targets inducting thousands of electric vehicles in the near future. But, it is yet to come out with a full-fledged plan on building a robust charging infrastructure, an issue that if not thought through could potentially impede the capital's shift to a zero-emission transport system.
According to the government's policy it will attempt, within a year, to induct 35,000 electric vehicles (2/3/4 wheelers and buses), 1,000 EVs for last mile deliveries and also establish 250 public charging/swapping stations in the city.
Speaking to IANS, Atul Goel, President URJA, the apex body which connects with 2,500 RWAs, said the organisation recently launched the Citizens Green Manifesto, which lays out 10 point demands for all political parties contesting the Delhi election.
"The EV Policy for Delhi is a wonderful thing in that direction. However, any government that comes to power should make sure that there are sufficient battery recharge points at dispersed locations, residential and commercial places and parking areas of Delhi," said Goel.
He insisted that all existing goods vehicles, supported with government aid, should be converted to electric by 2025, besides 50 per cent of new vehicles registered to EV by the same year.
According to URJA, the regulators should enable Discoms and small and large vendors to offer battery recharge points at various locations, which include residential and commercial places, including parking areas.
The Delhi government has plans to provide accessible public charging/battery swapping facilities within 3 km travel from anywhere in Delhi, and it is promoting this as a key objective of the EV policy.
Though the government claims that all new home and workplace parking will need to be 'EV ready', with 20 per cent parking required for EVs, but it is yet to clarify this in the backdrop of the existing space crunch in Delhi.
Polash Mukherjee from the Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC), a US-based advocacy organisation, said the Delhi government has made the right decision to switch to EVs, but scaling a charging infrastructure to meet the public and private transport demand is a big challenge.
Sandeep Gandhi, an urban mobility expert, said it is encouraging to see the Delhi government taking EVs seriously.
"EV has its own set of pros and cons however as the technology matures and as electricity becomes cleaner, it is expected that over a period of time, this move will contribute to reduced emissions from mobility. I hope the policy is widely discussed with all stakeholders (including electricity distribution companies, etc.) before being notified," said Gandhi.
In the context of the charging infrastructure, Gandhi insisted that as long as the operations are localised, urban limits or city use, it is unlikely that charging will pose any big challenges.
"Currently thousands of E-rickshaws operate in Delhi, without any formal charging stations provided by the government. Although this method may not be free of its own problems, but it is still working. Private vehicles are usually charged at home and they have enough range to last the day," he added.