The Energy Transition Advisory Committee (ETAC), which was tasked by the Centre with creating a clean energy transition roadmap, has suggested banning diesel-operated four-wheelers from million-plus populated cities by 2027.

The panel, chaired by former Oil Secretary and Advisor to Prime Minister Tarun Kapoor, also suggested not adding any more diesel-operated city buses in urban areas in a bid to adopt clean fuel in urban public transport in about 10 years.

The recommendation assumes importance as the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in a September 2022 report revealed that the transport sector contributes up to 20 per cent of the PM 2.5 emissions, a key air pollutant.

Replacing intra-city transport, which is currently dominated by diesel-operated vehicles, with electric vehicles (EVs) will also reduce dependence on costly imported fossil fuels.

India has cities with million-plus population such as Lucknow, Kanpur, Bareilly, Nasik, Thane, Nagpur, Gwalior, Chennai, Madurai, and Coimbatore. Among them, the most polluted ones include Delhi and the NCR region, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Kanpur, and Hyderabad.

The government has made the transition of public transport to e-mobility its top priority, which can be judged from the fact that of the total $1.3 billion corpus under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME)-II scheme, around 35 per cent is for e-buses and 25 per cent for electric 3-wheelers in public transport.

In March, a Parliamentary panel on EVs urged the government to frame a comprehensive national policy on electric vehicles incorporating the State-level and international best practices.

City transport

The ETAC projected that city buses are likely to be electric, and city transport has to be a mix of electric buses and Metro by the end of the current decade.

“By 2030, no city buses should be added, which are not electric. CNG may continue till 2035, but diesel buses for city transport should not be added from 2024 onwards. Long-distance buses will have to be a mixture of electric with battery swapping and CNG/ LNG,” it has suggested.


The panel said, “Long-term focus on transitioning to EVs with CNG as transition fuel (up to 10-15 years). Vehicles with flex-fuel capabilities and hybrids may be promoted in the short and medium terms. This can be done through the application of fiscal tools like taxation.”

It added. “No diesel city buses addition be allowed in urban areas, to drive towards transition towards clean fuel urban public transport in about 10 years.”

The panel stressed extending the FAME-II scheme beyond March 2024.

Considering public transport offered by State Transport Undertakings (STUs) face challenges of limited charging infrastructure and upfront financing, the scheme may include suitable and graded provisioning for expanding charging infrastructure for city buses.

“Increase the quantum of FAME subsidy per EV, rather than targeting more EVs with lesser subsidy, with a focus on most sustainable vehicle segments, to offer gap viability and linking the cost parity with ICE counterparts for accelerated adoption of EVs other than low speed two and three-wheelers,” it added.

Recently, Moody’s Investors Service said that the government incentives, including those to consumers, local battery manufacturing, state-level subsidies and cut in GST rates would help drive EV penetration in India.