The use of diesel vehicles older than 10 years is prohibited in Delhi, according to a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order. Global warming is a challenge, and the government has made responsible decisions to counteract it. A simple solution is to convert diesel cars to electric vehicles.
Unless their engines get replaced with fully electric drivetrains, diesel cars older than ten years will not be allowed to operate in the national capital. A car’s drivetrain consists of components that transfer power from the engine to the wheels. The electric motor’s performance with a conventional engine depends on the hybrid electric vehicle’s drivetrain design.
What are the types of conversions available?
You can convert a standard vehicle into a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or an all-electric vehicle (EV). In addition, an HEV can get converted into a PHEV or EV. Such conversions provide options more than what the original equipment manufacturers offer (OEMs).
So what to do with your old diesel car?
Converting a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle was extremely difficult a decade ago. Buying an electric vehicle was expensive. Even in 2022, it will be a costly affair. Old cars can also be perceived from this perspective, as they involve transformations with the assistance of an electric-powered core. In this regard, the government has modified the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. Now, vehicles can get retrofitted with electric motors. Electric battery-operated mechanisms can be used to power automobiles while also cutting carbon emissions.
What is EV retrofitting, and how does it work?
Many diesel trucks and buses are being retrofitted in Europe to become zero-emission commercial vehicles. The process aids in the reduction of greenhouse gases in the environment.
The electric vehicle retrofitting process converts a gasoline or diesel vehicle to an electric vehicle. The method requires replacing the existing engine and other associated equipment and transplanting a new substitute energy source into the current car body. This process could be an add-on framework for the original automobile engine or a total replacement of the existing motor and drivetrain with a new engine and drivetrain. The vehicle’s other components remain the same. So, it is easy to fix parts like the suspension, brake pads, and headlamps.
The International Centre for Automotive Technology, ICAT, a leading test certification, research, and development agency, has approved centers empaneled with the Delhi transport department for retrofitting.
Retro fitment authorization and options
The Indian government has approved the use of compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hybrid technology, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as automotive fuels. As a result, under CMVR Rule 115, provisions related to emission, safety, installation, and other requirements for permitting such conversion are also notified.
The Delhi Government deregistered 1,01,247 diesel vehicles with a ten-year registration on January 1, 2022. The transport department offered owners of old cars three options. They can have it scrapped by empaneled dealers, repurposed into electric engines with government-approved retrofitting kits, or receive a no-objection certificate and sell them outside the national capital.
States that allow such vehicles to get sold are:
- Rajasthan (all districts)
- Bihar -18 districts
- Maharashtra – 26 districts
- Uttar Pradesh – 33 districts
- West Bengal – all districts, but only Bharat Stage IV standard vehicles
- Meghalaya – all districts
Online retrofitting guidelines
The process will be taken online and updated on the Vahan software. This week the transportation department and the Nation Informatics Centre (NIC) met to discuss the same.
The International Centre for Automotive Technologies (ICAT) and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) have approved vendors for retrofitting old fuel-driven vehicles. These businesses will act as regulators, establishing dealers and centers where the general public can apply for vehicle conversions. The transportation department will make everything online, from applications for fuel conversion to details about manufacturers, products, cost, dealers, and how to apply for kits, to transform old cars simple, straightforward, and available to the public. You can find the approved centers empaneled for retrofitting available on the website of the Delhi transport department, and here is the list. The application for retro fitment is also available on their website.
Retrofitting will allow people to keep their expensive vehicles instead of having them scrapped, and it will also be good for the environment. Some officials have stated that the kits are expensive. A kit for a car like the Swift Dzire, for example, costs Rs 5 lakh.
ARAI and ICAT have approved 8 manufacturers. The companies will act as regulators and establish dealers and centers for vehicle conversions.
There are two processes to follow. The first relates to what’s available, while the second relates to how you can use it.
The first is for suppliers or manufacturers and lists details such as location, product, vehicle type offering engine/kit, approved kit, etc. The second process aims at consumers, where you can find information on the use of the product for vehicles, dealers, and workshops.
After reading the specifications about the empaneled kit, consumers can sign up online, visit a nearby center, check the product, and then pay if they are satisfied with it. Even after the vehicle has been modified, the vehicle owner does not have to go to the vehicle registration officer for personal inspection. Approval gets done online.
How much does conversion cost?
In India, a few companies offer electric vehicle conversions for Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
ETrio, a startup based in Hyderabad, converts ICE diesel-powered cars to electric vehicles. These cars carry a range of up to 150 kilometers on a single charge. The conversion costs approximately Rs 4 lakh, but ETrio offers customers the choice of leasing the kit or purchasing an electrified vehicle directly from them.
Correspondingly, other companies are converting fuel-powered vehicles into hybrid vehicles, including bikes, cars, trucks, etc. A dual-electric machine, wire harness, power and control electronics, generator, and a 48V battery pack are all included in a hybrid kit. These get installed beside the engine responsible for supplying power to the system.
Some hybrid-electric retrofit car companies charge between Rs 1-2 lakh to convert a manual transmission IC-engine car into a hybrid. The cost depends on the brand and model of the older vehicle.
What are the benefits of electric vehicle retrofitting?
There are numerous benefits to EV retrofitting:
- There is a reduction in carbon pollution.
- The drivetrain consists of fewer components than a fuel driven-engine that contains nearly 350 parts.
- It is less expensive.
- There is no noise pollution.
- No heat gets generated; there are no vibrations.
- There is less noise pollution.
- The main benefit of retrofitting is that it extends the lifespan of your vehicle if it is in good running condition.
- Since it means reducing fossil fuel consumption, fuel imports will cease, automatically minimizing air pollution.
- With the cars getting retrofitted, there will be new job opportunities for the EV industry.
- The government is already developing a voluntary vehicle fleet modernization policy for cars older than 12 years. The policy proposes giving those who voluntarily scrap their old vehicles a discount on new automobiles with a manufacturer discount and an excise duty rebate.
- The policy will apply to commercial and passenger vehicles, and the government will issue discount certificates to those who voluntarily scrap their old cars. Present these certificates when procuring a new car to get a discount. In addition, the government will certify scrapyards for old vehicles.
- The transport ministry will also issue a star rating sticker based on car fuel efficiency. The government plans to make it compulsory for all car makers to present tamper-proof stickers indicating the car’s fuel efficiency rating.
- About Phase II of the Fame India Scheme, the concerned department intends to provide incentives to multiple categories of vehicles through this scheme. Such as:
- Four-wheeled electric vehicles: 35,000 electric four-wheelers with an ex-factory price of 15 lakh will receive a 1.5 lakh incentive each.
- Four-wheeled Hybrids: The government will provide 13,000 – 20,000 as an incentive to hybrid 4-wheelers with an ex-factory price of 15 lakh under this scheme.
Note: The scheme is extended till 31st March 2024.
CNG kit vs. EV retrofit
- The primary part of the system, the engine, and transmission, do not change in a CNG vehicle (Compressed Natural Gas).
- However, with the alternative of operating it on fuel, supposing the gas runs out, carbon emission is still a factor.
- The car engine’s maintenance cost remains the same, and the costs of oils, cables, etc.
- To fill CNG in your vehicle, you must take it to a pump, which is limited in number and can only get filled by trained individuals.
- You can charge electric cars at home. They have little maintenance, and they are simple to operate.
What about vehicle safety?
As per government guidelines, retrofit EV kits get tested thoroughly. Regarding retrofitting EV kits, the transportation department is more concerned with safety. Only retrofitting agencies that adhere to strict standards are granted permission by RTO. Only RTO-approved centers perform EV retrofitting while adhering to all safety regulations. EV vehicles are far safer than CNG vehicles because the batteries get tested before being approved for use.