Govt Plans to Order Uber, Ola to Go 40% Electric by 2026: Report

The government of India is planning to order Softbank Group-backed taxi aggregators Uber and Ola to electrify 40 percent of their total number of cars by April 2026, reported Reuters.

Both the taxi aggregators will have to begin the process of converting their cars by next year so as to achieve 2.5 percent electrification by the year 2021, 5 percent by 2022, 10 percent by 2023 before raising it to 40 percent, as per a source and the records that were reviewed by Reuters.

Earlier too, Ola had tried to run electric cars in India, but was not so successful owing to the insufficient infrastructure and high costs, the report added.

Recommendations by the Inter-Ministerial Committee

As a part of New Delhi’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, it is encouraging the implementation of adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). This move would help in decreasing oil imports and tackle pollution.

Further, policy think tank Niti Aayog, that is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is working with various ministries on the same.

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As per Reuters, the suggestions, with or without change, will become a formal policy, once they are approved by the federal government, the source added.

China, that boasts of the world’s top auto market, has already been pushing taxi aggregators to electrify their fleet of cars. It is leading the world in the same by setting high EV sales targets for car manufacturers.

While the sales of EVs in India increased three times to 3,600 in the year ended March, they still add up to approximately 0.1 percent of the 3.3 million cars including diesel and gasoline that were sold in India during that period, revealed industry data. On the other hand, neighbouring China’s sale of electric cars increased 62 percent in 2018 to 1.3 million vehicles.

In a meeting held in New Delhi on 28 May, among those encouraging taxi aggregators to convert their fleet to electric were officials of Niti Aayog along with the ministries of power, road transport, renewable energy and steel, and the departments of heavy industries and trade, reported Reuters.

The person who has direct information related to this issue, on the condition of anonymity told Reuters that the aforementioned ministries also suggested that all new cars that were to be sold for commercial purposes should be electrified from April 2026. Further, this change would be applicable to Uber and Ola as well.

Motorcycles, Scooters and Buses to Be Electric Too

Not only cars, but other vehicles such as motorcycles and scooters that are sold for commercial use, would also have to be electrified from April 2023, the person said. Commercial use of motorcycles and scooters include food delivering companies requiring these vehicles or for e-commerce companies related purposes.

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According to Reuters, the panel has also recommended that eventually electric buses within cities should be introduced as well. Five percent of the buses to be electrified by 2023 and gradually increasing to 30 percent by 2026. Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are the companies that make buses for travel within cities in India.

This EV plan has been proposed weeks after the committee had earlier suggested almost all motorcycles and scooters that are sold for private use should be electric, along with autorickshaws within the coming six to eight years.

Electric scooter manufacturers in India include Ather Energy, Hero Electric and Okinawa, among others. However, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors are the only two companies that build and sell electric cars in India.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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