The first electric taxi fleet in the country is going to be launched in Nagpur from the 26th of May 2017. With India's pledge to go all electric by 2030, this is a good way to get things rolling. Union Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari, had earlier said that the trial of the electric radio cabs will begin from the 24th of May 2017 but now that has been postponed by two days to coincide with the three year completion of the Narendra Modi government. Nagpur will be the first city in the country to adopt electric cabs and the success of this project will determine its applicability in other cities.
Gadkari told PTI that "Mahindra and Mahindra will be providing 200 taxis for the project." The project will be undertaken by Nagpur Municipal Corporation and is the first project of its kind in the country, he added."We wanted to start the project early but there are some problems in setting up charging stations," Gadkari said.
While trials are already underway, the 200 cars provided by Mahindra are yet to be identified. We tried calling Mahindra and Mahindra for a comment but haven't, as yet, received any details from the company. The cars that will make it to the fleet are highly likely to be the e-Verito and the e2O Plus but there appears to be a problem.
Taxis operating in the cities of Maharashtra fall under permits issued under section 74 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and are required to be of a minimum engine capacity of 980cc operate on CNG, and these taxis operate on regulated fare with meter and the number of permits of these taxis has been restricted. The other being the taxis under the Fleet Taxi Scheme of 2006 which have more than 1400cc engine capacity and air conditioned. In both the cases there is a certain cubic capacity that needs to be stated and that's not possible with an electric car because it does not have an internal combustion engine. It comes with electric motors which power the car, so a specific bhp can be provided but not cubic capacity (cc) and that's a necessity according to the current laws.
However, the central government is working on ways to make amendments to these rules, so that the electric radio cabs are able to function without disrupting the current laws. The FAME incentive, introduced by the government of India in 2015, has acted as a chief promoter for the usage of electric and hybrid cars in India. Under the FAME India scheme, around 99,000 hybrid/electric vehicles are currently given direct support by way of incentives. While there are a few questions that remain unanswered like which cars we'll see on the road, also how many charging stations there will be. We tried to contact the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to give us more details on this project, but haven't received any answer yet.