In a push to achieve its goal of becoming electric-only roads country by 2030, government of India is planning to mandate cab aggregators such Uber and Ola to convert 40% of their fleet of cars to electric by April 2026, reported several media outlets mentioining the records of government meetings to discuss new rules for clean mobility.
The move comes as India looks to cut the country’s dependence on oil imports and bring down air pollution to abide by its commitment as part of the 2015 Paris climate change treaty.
Uber and Ola, which are both backed by Japan’s Softbank Group, would need to start converting their fleet as early as next year to reach mere 2.5% electrification of their fleet by 2021, 5% by 2022, 10% by 2023 before finally accomplishing the target of 40%, according to the person and the records reviewed by Reuters.
Homegrown firm Ola has already established its Electric Vehicle (EV) unit in 2017 called Ola Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd (Ola Electric), which has recently got Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, as its latest backer as he invested undisclosed amount in the company in last month.
In November 2017, Uber tied up with Mahindra & Mahindra to explore deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) on the cab aggregator’s platform in several cities across India.
India’s policy maker, Niti Aayog, which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is said to be working with several ministries on the EV policy. The recommendations will eventually become a formal policy, with or without changes, subject to approval by the federal government, the source said, adding the idea is to “push electrification through public transport.”
In addition, Niti Aayog has also proposed that two-wheelers sold for commercial purposes, like food delivery or for use by e-commerce companies, will also need to be electric from April 2023.
Besides vehicles, India is also considering battery industry, which is at core of EVs. Last September, the PMO had sought reworking of a proposal to offer incentives of as much as $759 million (₹5,500 crore), which will mostly be use to encourage local manufacturing of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in EVs. Earlier, the draft had proposed incentives for EVs only and not for batteries.
Notably, a recent study by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace has identified the cities around the world where air pollution is highest and 7 of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India, which makes India’s job more tougher. In 2018, city of New Delhi had average air pollution levels more than 13 times the level permitted under WHO guidelines.