Union Minister Anant Geete on Wednesday said the government is committed to make the country's public transport system fully electric and emphasised that there is a need to increase incentives to promote e-mobility.
Also, the minister said the Centre is targeting a fully electric fleet for public transport, including buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws under the second phase of FAME India scheme.
The pilot phase or phase I of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) was launched by the government in 2015, which expires on March 31, 2018.
Thereafter, the phase II will be launched.
"We will accord priority to public transport in FAME II. Our primary objective will be that the countrys public transport should be 100 per cent electric.
If the public transport is 100 per cent, then we can reduce pollution to a great extent," Geete said at a press conference.
The Department of Heavy Industry on Wednesday announced the launch of multi-modal transport based on electric powertrain.
"The present effort is a significant boost to electric mobility with the aim to roll out a number of electric buses, electric three-wheelers and electric shared cabs for multi- modal public transport," the Heavy Industry Ministry said.
An Expression of Interest (EoI) inviting proposals from million-plus cities and special category states for multi-modal transport was issued by the Department of Heavy Industry on October 31, 2017.
Under this EoI, additional incentive was also proposed to augment charging infrastructure for public transport.
In response to the EoI, the Department of Heavy Industry received 47 proposals from 44 cities across 21 states having requirement of 3,144 buses, 2,430 e-four wheeler taxis and 21,545 e-three wheeler autos with the total financial support of Rs 4,054.6 crore sought from the Government of India.
After evaluating the proposals, 11 cities were selected for funding under the present EoI as the pilot project for multi-modal electric public transport under the FAME India scheme of the government.
The selected cities include Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Jammu and Guwahati.
"Selected cities are required to finalise the tendering process and issue supply order before February 28, 2018. Through this EoI, the Department of Heavy Industry is expected to spend about Rs 437 crore under FAME India scheme (Phase I), which includes about Rs 40 crore as incentives for installation of charging infrastructure."
The overwhelming response to this initiative of the government makes it clear that more such efforts are necessary to give push to e-mobility," said the Heavy Industry Ministry.
The minister said efforts were being made to lower the cost of lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles.
"The total allocation to us under FAME scheme was Rs 795 crore for subsidy and charging infrastructure. Due to the massive response received there is a need to increase allocation but this will be done in FAME 2," Geete said.
According to the minister, the subsidy to be provided to buses is in the range of Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore, which is 60 per cent of the cost.
In taxi, the subsidy amount is Rs 1.24 lakh which is 10-15 per cent of its cost.
"In auto rickshaw, it is between Rs 37,000 to Rs 61,000, 20 per cent for three-wheelers. All the buses will be fully electric, battery operated, involving zero emissions. The orders need to be placed by February-end, as the FAME schemes pilot phase is expiring in March," Geete said.
Replying to a question on the issue related to the lack of charging infrastructure, he said all the fuel stations on Wednesday can be converted into electric vehicle charging stations in the future.
Replying to a question, the minister said the subsidy to mild hybrid vehicles was withdrawn as it did not help save fuel or reduce pollution.
However, he said, the subsidy to hybrid vehicles is being given.
Admitting that the quantum of subsidy being provided was not adequate to meet the demand for electric vehicles, the minister said his ministry may demand more funds in the second phase of the scheme to meet this requirement.
"We have envisaged a total outlay of Rs 14,000 crore under the scheme.Therefore, in the future we will demand more funds to meet the subsidy outgo requirements and we are confident that these will be fulfilled," he said.