All petrol, diesel and CNG vehicles of the Delhi government will be replaced with electric ones within six months, the Arvind Kejriwal government said in an order today.
Any department and autonomous body of the Delhi government can hire an electric vehicle (EV) for the first time with the permission of the finance department. Thereafter, permission is not needed to extend existing contracts, the government said in the order.
The transport department will oversee the switch to EVs. All departments will give a report every month to the transport department on how the transition to EVs is going, identify gaps and give suggestions to meet the target within six months.
The Delhi government in August last year announced an electric vehicle policy that will try to make the city the "EV capital of India". The policy will work to significantly improve Delhi's air quality and ensure at least 25 per cent of all new vehicles are battery-operated by 2024, the government had said.
The last biggest fuel conversion in Delhi was the mandatory switch to CNG for all public transport vehicles. The Delhi Transport Corporation is one of the world's largest public transporters that runs on CNG.
The air quality in the national capital is a big cause of concern, especially during the winter months. The levels of the pollutant PM2.5 regularly exceed the safe limit in winter. The city has tried different ways to reduce pollution, like the odd-even scheme that lets the number plate decide on what days a vehicle can run and stopping dust-generating construction work.
The switch to EVs has been slow not just in India but globally. One of the biggest concerns of customers is the range of an EV and public charging infrastructure. EVs also cost more than their polluting counterparts, though more and more EVs are becoming affordable to entry level segments due to green subsidy taking off a huge burden of taxes.