Chandigarh’s new Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy 2022 seeks to reduce the use of fossil fuels, which contribute substantially to the rising particulate air pollution in the Union Territory. As a ‘model EV city’, Chandigarh aims to have one of the highest penetrations of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) among all Indian cities by the end of the policy period of five years. Approved by Chandigarh Administrator Banwarilal Purohit, the policy, which came into effect earlier this week, addresses the slow uptake of EVs, and the changing policy, technology, and market landscapes of the sector.
The policy prioritises public and shared transport, goods carriers, and two-wheelers, to accelerate the adoption of EVs. Dharam Pal, Adviser to the Administrator, said the policy incentivises the adoption of all vehicle categories such as e-bicycles, e-2 wheelers, e-carts, e-autorickshaws, e-goods carriers, and personal and commercial e-four wheelers, over and above FAME-ll policy incentives provided by the Government of India. With an eye on adopting zero-emission mobility for achieving carbon neutrality in Chandigarh by 2030, the policy envisages that EVs will contribute 70% of new vehicle registrations by the end of the policy period.
According to the policy disposal of EV batteries in trash-landfills will be strictly prohibited and while the adoption of EVs can aid better air quality and energy security, and reduce noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, etc., experts have voiced other environmental concerns. “The electric vehicle has some long-term dangers. The lithium ion batteries used in EVs could be dangerous. Lithium as such is a very reactive material and if this enters our food chain, it could have devastating health consequences. Just as the unscientific disposal over the past few years of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), which contain mercury, has started to pollute underground water, EVs are bound to cause lithium pollution if strict measures surrounding its [battery] disposal are not taken beforehand,” Jatinderpal Kundra of the Chandigarh-based environment work group Climategiri and the NGO Save Environment Society said.
“The Union Territory’s administration should immediately make legal provisions in the policy itself to ensure that every battery used in EVs is bar coded; the whereabouts of that battery should be traceable; and after five years, the battery should be replaced and not thrown unscientifically. Also, in case of any accident involving an EV, there should be a battery ejection system to avoid a blast or electrocution,” Mr. Kundra said.