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Struggling for mileage: The Rs.10,000 crore second phase of FAME is yet to gain momentum as cash-strapped transport departments fail to make most of the central government incentive | Photo: The Better India

E-bus push scuttled by tough rules and cash strapped state transport utilities

Centre’s push for EV adoption, with Rs 10,000 crore FAME II subsidy, is failing to gain momentum because state transport departments are either cash-strapped, or they are asking high bank guarantees for each EV they procure, resulting in high bids by investors determined to minimise risks. Delhi government, for example, is asking for Rs 20 lakh bank guarantee for each EV bus they buy, as opposed to Rs 2-3 lakh demanded by other states. Some states transport utilities are so cash strapped that they are allegedly paying salaries to their staff from the EV subsidy money. To successfully get the subsidy, states need to finalise tenders within three months and assure delivery of e-buses in 12 months.

Meanwhile India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar informed parliament last week that about 2.85 lakh buyers of electric/hybrid vehicles have been supported with subsidies worth Rs 360 crore under the FAME India scheme.

AP cancels plans to introduce e-buses into state transport fleet

The push to integrate electric buses in to Andhra Pradesh’s public transport was scuttled this week as the state announced that it was dropping plans to introduce 350 electric buses into the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transportation Corporation (APSRTC) fleet. After initially downsizing requirements from 1000 e-buses to 350, the tender floated in September was cancelled altogether on the directions of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. The decision was reportedly taken after allegations of favouritism in the tendering process were raised.

Dubai offers free EV charging till 2021

Private EV owners will be allowed free charging till the end of 2021, as per a new initiative by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s EV Green Charging Initiative. The announcement follows Volvo’s similar announcement of offering free charging for its XC 40 ReCharge crossover for the first year, and the Arabian city expects 10% of new car sales to come from EVs till 2020.

First electric racing aircraft debuts at Dubai Air Show

White Lightning, the world’s first electric racing aircraft, has been unveiled at the Dubai Air Show and is expected to fly at 300 kmph for five minutes at full throttle. The aircraft will be flown at the AIr Race E — which will start in 2020 — and has been developed by the UK’s Condor Aviation, which is backed by Airbus.

Electric aviation is fast gaining prominence, and even Boeing is working with Porsche to develop the first electric flying car. The prototype can ferry two to four passengers for up to 50 miles. 

Mercedes-Benz, Continental to slash jobs over slowing IC engine sales

Germany’s Mercedes-Benz is reportedly planning to slash 1,000 jobs and trim €1.65bn in operational costs as it invests more in EVs and struggles to cut losses over slowing sales of its premium IC engine cars. The cuts will be instituted by 2022 and the firm will reign in investments in equipment, research and property as well. Engine manufacturer Continental too will slash over 5,000 jobs by 2028 as IC engines struggle to meet tightening emissions norms across the EU.