Mumbai: In a world dealing with climate change consequences and finite fossil fuel reserves, electric vehicles (EVs) are a strong candidate for the future of mobility. India has only a handful of EVs — around 2000 electric cars and 3 lakh e-bikes (including cycles, scooters and motorcycles) — most of them in and around Bengaluru, the home of the EV, and in the National Capital Region.
Now, a group of enthusiasts are attempting to popularise EVs in the Mumbai–Pune belt. This week, PluginIndia.com, a portal focussed on the promotion of EVs, is organising a rally that demonstrates that the vehicles can be used comfortably outside city limits. EV owners from three cities — Mumbai, Pune and Ahmednagar — will all drive to Nashik from January 6 to 8. To assist the vehicles, charging points are being set up on all the routes, which will remain after the rally, as a community resource.
This edition has three legs. On January 6, owners from Pune will drive to Nashik via the Pune Nashik highway; along the way they will use three new charge points. On January 7, participants from Mumbai will drive Nashik via the NH 160 through Igatpuri, using three charge points on the route. And the last set of drivers will leave from Ahmednagar to Shirdi and then reach Nashik on January 7.
“The objective of the RE-LIVE 2017 electric vehicle rally to Nashik is to raise awareness on EVS and to set up community charge pints to be used by owners in these routes,” says Kamlesh Mallick, founder of PluginIndia. “We want to prove that with a good EV charging network, it is possible to take EVs out of the city.” The portal has also developed an app, Re-chargeIndia, which helps the community to locate charge points.
EV technology is still in its infancy, and hampered to some extent by the charging capacity of batteries and, therefore, the need to charge them frequently. Which explains why ownership is clustered in the metropolises, and the vehicles are used mainly within city limits. “The EV market will get a boost when battery prices would come down,” Mr. Mallick says. “The government must encourage the promotion of EVs which are environment friendly and are sustainable mode of transportation.” The rally will be the third that PluginIndia has organised, after Delhi–Sarska–Jaipur in 2015 and Mumbai–Pune–Mahabaleshwar in 2016.