New Delhi: India plans to order taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola to convert 40 per cent of their fleet of cars to electric by April 2026, according to records of government meetings to discuss new rules for clean mobility. Uber and Ola would need to start converting their fleet as early as next year to achieve 2.5 per cent electrification by 2021, 10 per cent by 2023 before hiking it to 40 per cent.
Some taxi players, like Ola, have previously tried to operate electric cars in the country, but with little success given inadequate infrastructure and high costs.
New Delhi, however, is looking to push the new policy to boost the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) as it tries to bring down its oil imports and curb pollution so it can meet its commitment as part of the 2015 Paris climate change treaty.
China is already leading the world in electrification by setting tough EV sales targets for car makers and offering incentives to taxi operators to increase their fleet of clean-fuel cars. EV sales in India grew three-fold to 3,600 in the year ended March, but still account for about 0.1 per cent of the 3.3 million diesel and gasoline cars sold in the country over the period, data show.
In a meeting in New Delhi on May 28, Niti Aayog officials and the ministries of road transport, power, renewable energy and steel, as well as the departments of heavy industries and trade, were among those recommending taxi operators in India gradually convert to electric. They also recommended that all new cars sold for commercial use should only be electric from April 2026, a change that would also apply to Uber and Ola.
Motorcycles and scooters sold for commercial purposes, like food delivery or for use by e-commerce companies, will also need to be electric from April 2023.