How electric vehicle retrofitting can be a viable solution to limiting vehicular emissions in India

How electric vehicle retrofitting can be a viable solution to limiting vehicular emissions in India

Electric retro-fitment solutions for the in-use vehicles.

Along with plans to significantly reduce carbon emissions from diesel and gasoline engines by 2030, the Indian government has established an ambitious goal for electric vehicles (EVs). The country is moving toward electric vehicles in this way. However, the pace of this change cannot be rapid, so in order to complement the introduction of new EVs, it is necessary to retrofit existing ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. By retrofitting, existing automobiles can avoid falling into the scrappage policy’s trap for an additional five to seven years.

The process of replacing a vehicle’s combustion engine with an electric drivetrain is known as retrofitting. In Europe, this method is widely used to transform diesel buses and trucks into zero-emission CVs.

The urgency of EV Retrofitting in India

By 2030, more than 2 million buses are expected to be operating on Indian roads. Other forms of public transportation are also anticipated to expand at a similar rate. Our city roads will become congested if we just keep adding more electric public vehicles to the fleet in the name of lowering our carbon footprint. As a result, the viable option is to add a small number of electric vehicles while retrofitting the ones that already exist to make them electric.

Economic benefits of retrofitting

A new electric 2W with comparable power may cost up to INR 1.5 lakh, whereas retrofitting an older ICE two-wheeler may cost between INR 50,000 and 1 lakh. Moreover, retrofitting an ICE vehicle saves money on fuel costs, which might depend on INR 50,000 – 60,000 every year for a petroleum engine bicycle. In terms of an E2W, the annual cost of charging the vehicle will not exceed INR 7,000-10,000.

For 4Ws and light commercial vehicles, a kit may cost INR 5-8 lakh on average[i]. In India, a typical electric four-wheeler costs about INR 15 lakh, but retrofitting an older vehicle only costs about INR 4 to 5 lakh.

Regulatory framework in India

Retrofitment guidelines have been developed by the governments of some states, such as Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. These policies can help start-ups that sell retrofit kits gain momentum and target customers who are willing to switch to electric vehicles instead of throwing them out.

If equipped with an electric vehicle kit, old diesel vehicles older than ten years were permitted to continue in 2021 by the Delhi Government to circumvent the National Green Tribunal’s ban. A parallel industry to convert old ICE vehicles to electric vehicles has emerged in response to this announcement.

The Delhi Government issued an order in June 2022 allowing owners of gasoline and diesel vehicles to retrofit their vehicles to become electric vehicles. It had already launched a new portal to provide a unified platform for both customers and agencies involved in vehicle retrofitting. As a stage to make EV pack retro fitment nondescript, the module for retro fitment of EV unit in diesel vehicles has been made online on the Vahan Entrance to empower the residents of Delhi to get their old diesel vehicles retrofitted with EV pack by the Retro Fitment Place. Citizens can take advantage of this service by visiting a Retro Fitment Centre (RFC) authorized by the Delhi government to have the EV kit installed in their diesel vehicles, as stated in the new policy.

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