Govt to fast-track switchover to eco-friendly transportation

The government, in association with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), has embarked on a technology mission for early adoption of eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative sources of energy for transportation.

Union minister of heavy industries and public enterprises Anant Geete today launched a scheme for `Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles' (FAME), at a function at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi today.

The scheme involves identification of the right technology platform (including testing infrastructure), providing incentives for demand creation, setting up of charging infrastructure, pilot projects etc, for which the budgeted has allocated Rs795 crore for this year.

In the annual budget for 2015-16, an initial amount of Rs75 crore has been provided for the scheme. Further release of funds would depend on the successful implementation of the scheme and utilisation of funds so far ear-marked, the minister added.

The scheme will initially cover smart cities, metros and other urban areas with over 1 million population and the North East.

It will cover all vehicle segments, ie, two, three and four wheelers, cars, LCVs, buses etc and all forms of hybrid (mild/strong/plug-in) and pure electric vehicles.

The demand incentive can be availed by buyers upfront at the point of purchase and it would be reimbursed to the manufacturers by the department of heavy industry, on a monthly basis.

The broad range of demand incentive available for different categories of vehicles would include cash incentive of Rs1,800-22,000 in the case of 2-wheeler scooter, Rs3,500-29,000 for motorcycles, Rs3,300-61,000 for 3-wheeler autorikshaws, Rs11,000-1,38,000 for 4-wheeler cars, Rs17,000-1,87,000 for LCVs and Rs30,00,000-66,00,000 for buses.

For retro-fitted vehicles, the incentives would be 15 per cent or Rs30,000 if reduction in fuel consumption is 10 to 30 per cent and Rs90,000 if reduction in fuel consumption is more than 30 per cent.

On technology platform, the minister said the prime focus area under the scheme is to develop indigenous technology and R&D capability to develop and manufacture the entire range of electric components and sub-systems necessary for hybrid and electric vehicles.

He said a Technology Advisory Group on Electric Mobility (TAG-EM) headed by Ambuj Sharma (additional secretary, DHI) and Prof Jhunjhunwala of IIT Madras with senior members from the DST, industry and academia has been set up, which is steering various initiatives in this field.

The minister said in order to test and demonstrate the technical capability of hybrid and electric vehicles as well as market dynamics in real-time situation, a number of pilot projects are being launched in the coming months across India, jointly with the state governments and industry. DHI will provide viability gap funding for installation of charging points etc for the successful implementation of such pilot projects, he added.

The union cabinet had in 2011 approved the setting up of a National Mission on Electric Mobility (NMEM) comprising two apex bodies -  National Council on Electric Mobility (NCEM) at the ministerial level and the National Board on Electric Mobility (NBEM) at the secretary level -  to formulate the road map for a new paradigm in road transportation centering around hybrid and electric vehicles. 

Since then, much time has been wasted in conducting field level study, including consumer survey besides a number of meetings of NCEM and NBEM.

Electric mobility was included as a prominent theme for ministry in the 12th Plan document. The 12th Plan also approved an outlay of Rs795 crore for the same.

The earlier, UPA government had prepared a road map on `National Electric Mobility Plan (NEMMP-2020)', which was released in January 2013. NEMMP 2020 targets production of 6-7 million hybrid and electric vehicles per year by 2020, with commensurate incentives and creation of demand, supply, technology and the necessary R&D projects as also the necessary infrastructure.