Electric Vehicles Current Affairs
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ISRO’s rocket sciences arm Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has decided to transfer its own in-house lithium ion (Li ion) cell technology to successful Indian industries and start-ups on non-exclusive basis in automobiles for Rs. 1 crore. The initiative aims to accelerate development of indigenous electric vehicle (EV) industry and reduce dependence of imported lithium ion cell technology.
In this regard, VSSC has issued RFQ (request for quotation) inviting multiple qualified companies or start-ups to use its power storage technology to produce range of Li ion cells for many purposes, mainly EVs or electric vehicles. The transfer of ISRO’s technology will help in establishing production facilities in the country that can produce cells of varying size, capacity, energy density and power density catering to entire spectrum of power storage requirements of electric vehicles (EVs).
Presently, lithium-ion battery is the most dominant battery system finding applications for variety of societal needs including handy consumer electronics goods such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras and many other portable consumer gadgets apart from industrial applications and aerospace. Most of the current domestic demand is met by batteries imported from China, South Korea and Taiwan. The Li ion cell production initiative is part of Central Government’s plan to achieve 100% EVs in the country by 2030.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis to promote electric vehicles (e-vehicles) in India. The purpose behind distinctive green number plates is easy identification of electric vehicles for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll.
As per estimate, India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles. It is projected to grow to about 5% of total vehicles in next five years. Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, e-vehicles accounted for barely about 1%. Government has undertaken various measure aimed at promoting e-vehicle’s use and government is considering exemption from permits for such vehicles.
Besides, MoRTH is also contemplating permitting youth in age group of 16-18 years to drive e-scooters, which are gearless and this will lead to a big demand for e-scooters. Currently, under the Motor Vheicles Act, 1988, those in the age group of 16-18 years are granted licence for below 50 CC gearless scooters.
It is also contemplating to ask taxi aggregators to have incremental share of e-vehicles from 2020 onwards, which could be 1% of the fleet every year. Similarly, all public transport operators are also mandated to provide 1% incremental fleet from 2020 onwards.
It is also going to request Union Finance Ministry for 50% rate of depreciation on EVs as against the rate of 15% for conventional vehicles. The proposals also include bringing down GST on batteries to 12% at par with the GST on EVs.
Number Plate regime in India
Currently, there are four kinds of number plates in India- white licence plates with numbers on black font for private cars, yellow plates with fonts in black for commercial vehicles, black plates with yellow font letters for self-driven rental vehicles and blue plates with white font letters for Embassies and High Commissions. Official vehicles of President and governors have red licence plates with the national emblem. Army vehicles follow different registration system given by Defence Ministry.