Is India’s Electric Vehicle Push for Real This Time?

After Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Telangana, Kerala has now hopped on to the e-mobility bandwagon.

The state, with over ten million vehicles on the road, has embraced e-mobility to reduce the impact of pollution from fuel-based vehicles. In a press release issued by the Transport Department, Government of Kerala, the state has chalked out a roadmap for an Electric Vehicle Policy (EVP).

Kerala’s EVP, like other state’s e-mobility policy, will reduce the number of vehicles with the introduction of electric buses and e-autorickshaws. With this, the government aims to provide comfortable public transport, apart from reduction in air and noise pollution.

The state has put up some ambitious deadlines and targets, keeping in mind the full electrification of all classes of motor vehicles by 2030. It includes bringing one million EVs on the road by 2022 and creating a pilot fleet of 200,000 two-wheelers, 50,000 three-wheelers, 1,000 goods carriers, 3000 buses and 100 ferry boats by 2020.

State’s transition strategy will include the creation of common charging infrastructure, incentivizing the transition, standardizing the specifications, creating enabling policies and regulations, promoting localization coupled with training and skill development.

A technical advisory committee, Mobility State Level Task Force (e-MobSLTF), has also been set up to initiate, develop, and sustain e-mobility in the state. Once the availability of sufficient electric vehicles and charging-swapping stations are in place, Kerala might take up environmentally fragile locations to convert all four wheelers as electric vehicles, enforcing them as pollution free EV zones.

The government also plans to ensure a robust infrastructure for electric vehicles that will include adequate power availability, network of charging points and favorable power tariff. Fast charging and swapping stations will be established all over cities and on highways. The state’s EVP will adopt Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) approach papers for standardizing the grid access for EV charging infrastructure.

The policy also includes strategic initiatives to improve affordability and acceptance of EVs. Under this, the road tax on the electric vehicles may be fully exempted for the initial three years. Charging stations for the EVs will be set up by Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEBL) and might establish battery swapping stations jointly with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL). Battery swapping infrastructure will be as per the standards for battery swapping to be formulated under the policy.

To boost localization of the EVs and components, the state will also promote manufacturing facilities in the field of drive technology, energy system and storage and charging technology. The manufacturing units set up for EVs will get all the financial and regulatory benefits of manufacturing units applicable under industrial and IT policies of the state. A fund will be created for technology acquisition for multiple manufacturers in the state.

Moreover, to familiarize the public on EVs and its usage, e-mobility zones will be created. The potential e-mobility zones in the state are as follows.

  • Tourist villages and spots (Kovalam, Munnar etc)
  • Technology hubs (Techno and info parks)
  • CBD of Trivandrum, Kochi, and Kozhikode

Under early adoption support scheme, an incentive of ₹30,000 (~$406) or 25 percent of the EV (whichever is lower) for three wheelers will be provided for the initial period of one year. Moreover, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode, permit will be given for EV autorickshaws only. As many as 20 charging stations and 150 swapping stations will be established in the initial pilot districts of Trivandrum, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode.

In the recent past, Karnataka and Maharashtra also launched their own EV policies that provide various subsidies and incentives to consumers. Previously, Mercom also reported that the EV market in India is slowly gaining momentum after three years of relative inaction. However, India still lags far behind other nations when it comes to EVs.

At the center, the government has decided to yet again extend the duration of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) program aimed at facilitating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. This is the fourth time that FAME I has been extended since its inception in 2015.

Mercom recently analyzed the EV hotspots in India that might lead the country’s EV revolution.

Garima is a staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering renewable energy news. Prior to Mercom, Garima worked as a journalist with The Times of India and The New Indian Express. She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and PG Diploma degree in journalism from the Times School of Journalism.