New Delhi: To curb rising pollution levels, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday launched ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign to encourage people to adopt e-vehicle in the state. “To make people aware of electric vehicles, we are launching the ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign. I appeal to each and every vehicle owner in Delhi to switch from polluting vehicles to zero-emission electric vehicles and to make a commitment to purchase a vehicle that causes no pollution,” said Kejriwal while launching the campaign.

The Kejriwal-led government had notified the EV policy under which many incentives are provided to people buying an electric vehicle. The Chief Minister also announced that in the next six months, the vehicles in all departments of the Delhi government will make the switch to electric vehicles. According to officials, the government is trying to rope in Resident Welfare Associations and various market associations to spread the word about electric vehicles.

“The efforts of the government alone are not enough, everybody has to come together. Vehicular pollution is the biggest source of pollution in the city. Incentives on EVs range from a maximum of Rs 30,000 for 2 and 3-wheelers and up to Rs 1,50,000 on the purchase of 4-wheelers. This subsidy is received directly in your bank account within three days of the purchase,” Kejriwal announced.

According to government officials, since the announcement, the campaign has received tremendous support from industry leaders who have hailed the policy as well as the campaign as the need of the hour. TVS Motor company’s spokesperson said, “Switch Delhi is a welcome initiative by the Delhi government to spread awareness about the importance and need to adopt sustainable mobility solutions. It will definitely encourage the adoption of electric and green vehicles.”

Gunjan Malhotra, Director, Komaki Electric Division, an E-Vehicle manufacturer, told The Sunday Guardian: “This green initiative by the government is effective not only in tackling air and noise pollution, but also in boosting the electric vehicle segment. Rampant global warming and rising rates of fuel are testimony to the fact that it’s time to jump ship. The rapidly increasing petrol price is creating a hole in the consumer’s pocket and this initiative will encourage consumers to adopt electric vehicles quickly.”

However, several industry leaders said that the affordability and practicality of e-vehicles remain key challenges.

Vishal Gupta, Co-Founder of Brands2life, told The Sunday Guardian: “The initiative is indeed worth appreciating, but the affordability and practicality of e-vehicles remain key challenges. What we have seen over the last few years is a lukewarm approach by the Centre and states in moving things forward. As a user, I have apprehensions that the first-generation e-vehicles will eat up my money and by the time the e-vehicle ecosystem is ready, my vehicle may become outdated. Also, the economics are not in favour of the common man nor the infrastructure. In my opinion, the majority of people will play a wait and watch game and would like others to follow before they themselves resort to e-vehicles. The government should roll a phase-wise strategy where public transport should be converted into the electric mode and gradually commercial vehicles should come under the ambit.”

The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), a not-for-profit independent policy research institution, also came out in support of the same. “The Switch Delhi campaign announced by the Delhi government is a much-needed intervention to raise public awareness and address misconceptions about electric vehicles,” CEEW said in a statement.