Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the government is considering allowing youth in the age bracket 16-18 years to drive electric scooters with 100 cc engine capacity. With this move, there will be a higher demand for such gearless scooters, the minister noted. As of now, the same age-group are granted licence for scooters below 50 cc scooters. However, there are no scooters made in this category in India.
Apart from this, the government has also approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis, the Union Minister said. "The government has approved distinctive green licence plates for electric vehicles to encourage people to use electric vehicles. Such vehicles will be fitted with green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private cars and yellow font for taxis," Gadkari said.
A notification regarding this plan would be issued in a week's time.
The minister said that the purpose for distinctive number plates is their easy identification and preferential treatment in parking and free entry in congested zones. There will also be added proposed benefits to those number plates such as concession toll. This will also assist the government in promoting e-vehicles. The government is also considering exemption from permits for such vehicles.
"Exemption from permit will be a game changer as restricted permit regime is a major concern. E-rickshaw growth is attributable to the permit exemption and there is scope to extend the exemption to the e-buses, e-taxis, e-autos and e-bikes. E-auto and e-buses may have a big impact since getting a new permit is extremely difficult," the minister said. Similarly, e-bikes also should see a considerable impact since it is a new area, he added.
"The government is also contemplating to ask taxi aggregators to have an incremental share of electric vehicles from 2020 onwards, which could be 1% of the fleet every year," Gadkari said. Similarly, all public transport operators may also be mandated to provide 1% incremental fleet from 2020 onwards, he added.
Gadkari also said that the government is tightening fuel efficiency norms and that EVs will bring down vehicular pollution. Besides, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will request the finance ministry that the rate of depreciation on EVs may be allowed at 50 per cent as against the rate of 15 per cent for conventional vehicles. The government is also mulling over bringing down GST on batteries to 12%, at par with GST on EVs.
India at present has an estimated 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles and it is projected to grow to about 5% of the total vehicles in the next five years, an official said. Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, EVs accounted for barely about 1%, the official added.
India, currently, has four kinds of number plates - white licence plates with numbers on black font for private cars, yellow plates with fonts in black for commercial vehicles, black plates with yellow font letters for self-driven rental vehicles and blue plates with white font letters for Embassies and High Commissions.
Army vehicles on the other hand follow a different registration system given by the defence ministry, while vehicles of the President and governors have red licence plates with the national emblem.
(With PTI inputs)