World Environment Day: Needs, Policies and Challenges for Clean Mobility in India

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In 2020, India has overtaken the mecca of the automotive industry, Germany, to become the world’s fifth largest automotive market. While India adds millions of vehicles to its roads each year, not all vehicles that could be considered ‘end of life’ necessarily leave the roads.

The government is taking proactive steps to promote clean mobility and increase the number of electric vehicles (EV) versus Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICV) on Indian roads. The intention must be supported by appropriate programs, some of which have already been launched by the government.

But, with a growing economy and the availability of cheaper vehicles, the world’s second most populous country needs to demonstrate that it is safe with clean mobility. This approach is even more crucial to achieving its net zero goal and other climate change commitments.

India is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world! Although vehicular pollution is not the only reason for poor air quality in most Indian cities, it is certainly a major contributing factor. Whether courts, government or non-governmental organisations, all are aware of the critical situation and all stakeholders are working to improve it.

Policy framework for clean mobility

The government rushed to implement BS-VI emission standards after the release of BS-IV to accelerate the shift to cleaner mobility. It also implemented the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programs for the automotive sector, including one for the National Advanced Chemical Cell (ACC) Battery Storage Program.

India also introduced FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) in 2019 for three years which was extended for two years till 2024 to promote the sale of electric vehicles in India. The government has also introduced the National Green Hydrogen Policy and Biofuel Policy to promote clean mobility. He also created the e-AMRIT portal to provide all information related to electric vehicles in India.

The government is currently working on creating an efficient disposal mechanism for end-of-life vehicles. It recently circulated draft notifications aimed at introducing the “non-contribution certificate”, setting up automated control stations and defining the procedure for the disposal of end-of-life vehicles. This will help remove polluting vehicles from Indian roads, paving the way for cleaner electric vehicles.

However, a major challenge for electric mobility is the creation of the charging infrastructure. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Power introduces guidelines and standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The other major challenge remains the categorization of EVs versus VCIs, particularly with regard to environmental authorizations and the authorizations required for their manufacture.

The battery problem


A particular challenge remains the disposal of batteries and other waste generated by electric vehicles towards the end of their lifespan. The Electronic Waste (Management) Rules 2016 and the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules 2001 deal with this waste to a limited extent. The Battery Waste Rules define “batteries” as lead-acid batteries, thereby excluding other types of batteries like nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, lithium-ion batteries, etc., from its scope. of application.

The need to include other types of batteries in these rules was also recognized by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in its review report on the implementation of these rules, published in 2016.

The Government of India has announced its intention to develop a lithium-ion battery recycling policy. This was followed by the publication of the Draft Waste Battery Management Rules, 2020. These rules proposed to manage various types of used batteries and provided a detailed mechanism for the collection of these used batteries. However, this project is not yet finalized.

The market for recycling such batteries in India is estimated to grow from 2.9 GWh in 2018 to around 800 GWh by 2030, representing a $1 trillion business opportunity by 2030 not only for save resources, but also to create a circular. economy.

Nawneet Vibhaw is a partner in the environmental law practice at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are those of the author/respondent and do not necessarily reflect the views of Business Insider India. The article has been partially edited for length and clarity.

This column is part of the month-long awareness campaign for June 2022 on the theme “
One Earth: Supporting People, Planet and Prosperity
” by
Business Insider India’s Sustainability Insider
.

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