Green Plates for e-Vehicles

In the year 2016, China implemented the system of issuing green license plates for New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuxi, Jinan, and Shenzhen; and subsequently, rolled out the system in phases across the country through the years 2017 and 2018. The subsidies and privileges that accompanied the assignment of green number plates to the electric-powered vehicles of China saw the increase of production and sales of its NEVs from 800,000 units in the year 2017 to 1.05 million units in the year 2018. [1]

Similarly, Norway and Canada have also announced sops of their own to encourage green energy enthusiasts. Electric vehicles in Norway carry a prefix of EL, EK or EV on their registration plates, while enjoying a range of benefits such as free parking and access to bus and taxi lanes. The Norwegians have big tax breaks on purchases; EV drivers can use bus lanes, and there are parking fee exemptions, as well as savings for EV drivers on the road and ferry tolls. Crucially, the Norwegian Government also helped to build an extensive battery fast-charging network. [2]

In Canada, from the 1st of May 2019, the Government has decreed to provide a point of sale incentive for consumers who buy or lease an eligible Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV). [3] Canada delivers 526 EV fast-chargers, six hydrogen refueling stations, and 12 natural gas refueling stations as well as many real-world demonstration projects that have provided innovative EV charging solutions. Further, it supports the establishment of a coast-to-coast fast-charging network along the national highway system, natural gas refueling stations along key freight corridors and hydrogen refueling stations in metropolitan centers. [4]

The behavioral insights unit of the UK proposes special green registration plates for the electric and other ultra-low emission cars, vans and taxis to boost awareness and increase the use of environmentally “clean” driving. Further, the British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the first-ever zero-emission vehicle summit in Birmingham and Buckinghamshire to bring together nations from across the globe to pledge collective action towards zero-emission journeys.[5]

Inspired by the precedents, to promote electric vehicles in India, the Indian government has approved green license plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis. The Indian government also plans to allow youth in the age bracket of 16-18 years to drive electric scooters, besides mandating taxi aggregators to have a certain percentage of e-vehicle fleet. The vehicles bearing these green number plates are bound to enjoy preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like a concessional toll. Further, the Indian government aims to promote the use of e-vehicle by exempting the vehicles from the need for permits.[6]

Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways of India states, “Exemption from permit will be a game-changer as restricted permit regime is a major concern. E-rickshaw growth is attributable to the permit exemption and there is scope to extend the exemption to the e-buses, e-taxis, e-autos, and e-bikes. E-auto and e-buses may have a big impact since getting a new permit is extremely difficult”, similarly, e-bikes also should see a considerable impact since it is a new area, he added. Besides, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed to bring down the GST on batteries to 12 percent at par with the GST on EVs. Nitin Gadkari said that the government-approved green registration or license plates will encourage more people to shift to electric vehicles. Moreover, the green color also signifies the eco-friendliness of the EVs.[6]

Though the adoption of electric vehicles has not yet taken off in India, the initiative that mandates unique number plates with lucrative concessions and privileges has encouraged the people to buy more electric vehicles. Yet, India has a long way to go in this accord, especially in terms of providing the infrastructure to support the mammoth drive.



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