Govt, PSU officials to ride green wheels

This winter, a few hundred officials of the Union government and central public sector undertakings in the capital are likely to ride in new cars that won’t emit pollutants. 

The government, keen to promote electric mobility in the country, may make its officers give up diesel- and petrol-run vehicles in favour of electric cars in a phased manner. A proposal to bring down import duties on electric cars is also being considered by the finance ministry. 

Currently, completely built imported electric cars (priced less than $40,000) attract customs duty of 60 per cent.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation, and Power Grid, recently floated a tender to procure 10,000 electric vehicles. 

Representatives from five carmakers — Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Hyundai, Nissan and Renault — attended the pre-bid meet last Wednesday, showing their interest in the programme. Of the five companies, only M&M at present sells electric cars in India. Tata Motors is also learnt to be developing its electric vehicles soon. 

EESL plans to source electric cars and lease them to the government departments and offices. Most of the cars used by such departments are from the leasing companies.  

“We will give them the cars, drivers and take care of the maintenance part. Suppose a department spends Rs 50,000 every month on a leased car (including driver, fuel and maintenance), we will charge Rs 45,000,” said Saurabh Kumar, managing director, EESL. Initially, offices and departments of power and coal ministries will lease electric cars.

The number of vehicles being used by the offices of Central government ministries, departments and PSUs is estimated at 500,000. There would be an equivalent number of cars in state governments, if not more. “There is a big market that you can generate from within the government. All this can happen simply through a government directive asking the departments to either lease from EESL or buy on their own. That is why these companies came for the pre-bid meeting. They understand that it is not about 10,000 cars,” said Kumar.

EESL plans to source 10,000 cars in two phases over the next 12 months. In the first phase, 500 or 1,000 cars will be procured over three months, while another 9,000 or 9,500 cars will be purchased in the following nine months. Companies, which sell in bulk to EESL, will not have to spend for launches, advertisements or promotions. “Here, you realise the money without any additional costs. We are sure that in the second phase of tender, there will be at least five participants. These are the five serious players who are looking at our electric mobility plans,” Kumar said. 

EESL wants to ensure that procurement is transparent and there is as much competition as possible. “Eventually, we should insist on Make in India... per cent of value addition should progressively go up and prices should come down,” he said.

It is learnt that a formal request has gone from the ministry of new and renewable energy to the finance ministry to bring down duties on import of electric cars to offer a level-playing field to companies that are manufacturing these vehicles outside India.

Planning for an electric future

  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) recently floated a tender to procure 10,000 electric vehicles

  • EESL is a joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Grid 

  • Representatives from five carmakers showed interest in the programme. Out of the five, only M&M sells electric cars in India currently  

  • EESL plans to source electric cars and lease them to the government departments and offices

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