In the face of rising pollution concerns exacerbated by the surge in vehicle numbers, New Delhi is encountering formidable challenges in its pursuit of a greener transport sector. As India claimed the position of the third-largest automobile market globally, behind China and the United States, the capital’s residents are contending with worsening traffic pollution.
EV adoption policy amidst pollution woes
Acknowledging the urgent need for action, the Delhi government has implemented policies to promote electric vehicle (EV) usage, particularly in public transport. New Delhi, consistently ranked among the most polluted cities globally, has placed its bets on EVs to address the environmental crisis. The iconic rickshaws, representing 16% of the city’s vehicles, have spearheaded the transition, with almost 1 in 50 now operating on electrical energy.
Mass transit goes electric
The Delhi Transport Corporation has taken significant strides in embracing green alternatives, with 800 out of 3,700 buses now running on electric power. This accomplishment positions Delhi as the city with the country’s largest fleet of electric buses. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious target of one-third of all new electric vehicles by 2030 aligns with Delhi’s push for a sustainable mass transit system.
Obstacles in EV transition
Despite these commendable efforts, experts warn that sustaining the broader electric vehicle transition faces considerable hurdles. The city’s strategy of retrofitting existing fuel-run vehicles into electric ones has seen limited success during testing phases. Commercial four-wheelers, crucial to urban mobility, are also proving resistant to the mandatory shift to electric.
Delhi’s Transport Minister, Kailash Gehlot, acknowledges the uphill battle in creating the necessary infrastructure for widespread EV adoption. Acquiring electric vehicles, a technology still in its infancy presents challenges for manufacturers and governments alike. Importing batteries, predominantly from countries like China, adds complexity to the process. The time-consuming nature of establishing charging infrastructure for buses compounds the difficulties, taking up to 14 months for a single depot.
Environmental considerations and activist concerns
As Delhi strives to reduce emissions through EV adoption, green activists raise concerns about the city’s increasing reliance on power grids primarily fueled by fossil fuels. While the transition to EVs is a step towards reducing air pollution, there is a call for simultaneous advancements in renewable energy sources to align with India’s larger goal of achieving carbon neutrality.
In conclusion, Delhi’s journey towards a cleaner, greener transport sector is riddled with challenges, from retrofitting issues to infrastructure complexities and environmental considerations. Balancing immediate pollution concerns with sustainable, long-term solutions is paramount for the capital’s vision of a healthier, eco-friendly future.