Minors may soon be allowed to ride electric scooters in India, according to Union Transport minister Nitin Gadkari who says the government is currently taking the decision under consideration. As of now, under the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988, people between the age of 16 and 18 are allowed to carry a license for scooters that are under 50cc. However, while the legislation exists no such vehicle is being manufactured in the country. In doing so, Gadkari believes that youth will be inclined towards electric two-wheelers in the future.
This should also boost sales of Electric Scooters especially, a market which is yet to have gained any significant traction as yet in India. Despite being easier to use, recharge and service than other electric vehicles.
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.
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 proposals include bringing down the GST on batteries to 12 per cent at par with the GST on EVs. As per an estimate, India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles and it is projected to grow to about 5 percent of the total vehicles in the next five years, an official said. Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, electric vehicles accounted for barely about 1 percent, the official added. Similarly, all public transport operators may also be mandated to provide 1 per cent incremental fleet from 2020 onwards, he added. The ministry of road transport and highways will also request the finance ministry to keep the depreciation rate at 50 per cent as opposed to 15 per cent on regular vehicles. Current estimates suggest that India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles and the number is projected to grow to about 5 percent of the total vehicles in the next five years. India sold 24 million vehicles in 2017-2018 and barely one percent of that amount accounted for the total EVs sold.