On February 06, the India Post launched a special post cover and post mark at the Head Post Office, to commemorate the first classic retrofit electric car by Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), IIT, Delhi. “Through this car, we want to give a message to the government that converting old cars to electric ones will help curb pollution.
Moreover, it will generate employment for many people,” said Hemant Kaushal, project coordinator, CERCA. The main focus is policy change to promote mass conversion. Talking to The Morning Standard, Arun Duggal, founder, CERCA, said, “We are approaching the government to change regulations so as to facilitate conversions of older cars.
By old, I don’t mean just vintage cars, but also cars that are 10-15 years old. That would be the next campaign because we want to reduce the number of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars and have more of them as electric cars.” The government has come out with a vehicle scrappage policy that any car older than 15 years can be scrapped. “But scrapping in itself is a challenge because we don’t have the right infrastructure in the country.
But if people get an alternative to retrofit their cars with electric motors, then there won’t be any need to scrap them,” added Kaushal. Recently, the Delhi government has also launched the Switch Delhi campaign to promote electric vehicles. As part of it, Incentives on EVs ranging from a maximum of Rs 30,000 for two and three-wheelers and up to Rs 1,50,000 on the purchase of 4-wheelers will be given. Duggal said, “Those incentives are being given to buy new electric cars.
But buying cars is expensive, so why not do something cheaper? Why not convert old cars into electric cars? This Beetle is more of a demonstration that if a 70-year-old car can be converted, then so can 10, 15 and 20 year old cars.” CERCA also set up a DC charging station — that charges fast — on the IIT campus. “We have very few electric cars on the campus, but recently MG gifted its electric car to the IIT. Next, we are working on making these cars autonomous (driver less cars) , ” added Kaushal. But to make electric cars the future, two things need to be done.
“One, we must have adequate charging infrastructure, and second, a battery swapping system. Otherwise, there will be a queue at these stations being set up by the government. Readily charged batteries should be available, so that people can take it and leave their discharged batteries there,” said Kaushal. Meanwhile, CERCA is also working on projects to measure and curb the pollution levels. For instance, one project uses AI and machine language to forecast various traffic congestion hot spots in Delhi.
“This model will identify hot spots and the local administration will take measures by rerouting the traffic, thus reducing the congestion,” informed Kaushal. Another project involving a s tudy i n collaboration with AIIMS, will have the carbon footprint of both the campuses measured for steps to be taken to reduce it. “Our other major study is in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Programme called the State of Air Quality in India. We will access how effective are these measures that the government claims they are taking to control pollution,” he added.