Kerala's electric vehicle (EV) policy has set an ambitious target of introducing 1 million EVs on the States roads by 2022, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
A pilot fleet of 3,000 buses, 100 ferries, two-lakh two-wheelers, 50,000 three-wheelers and 1,000 goods carriers are planned as part of this. Apart from investment, it also called for adoption of technology best suited for the State, he said after inaugurating a two-day event ‘Evolve: Kerala mobility conference and expo’ that began at Grand Hyatt in Bolghatty Island on Saturday.
The State-run KAL plans to roll out 8,000 e-autos a year. It has also tied up with Swiss e-bus manufacturer HESS to assemble and later on manufacture e-buses, for which a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Saturday. The plan is to make 3,000 e-buses for KSRTC. The KSRTC has already invited bids for 1,500 e-buses on wet lease this year. Thiruvananthapuram would have 100% e-mobile public transport within a year, he said.
It goes to Kerala’s credit that it launched the first LNG bus and solar ferry in India. The State also formed a task force under Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT, Chennai, on whose recommendations an EV policy was published in 2018.
MoU on charging infrastructure will be signed with NTPC, Energy Efficient Services Ltd (EESL), and for hydrogen fuel cell project with a firm at Evolve. The government has already started taking e-buses on wet lease and e-vehicles for departmental use.
E-mobility zones would be declared in tourist locales such as Kovalam, Munnar and Bekal, apart from the Secretariat, Technopark and Infopark.
Subsidy for e-vehicles
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant exhorted Kerala to be the front-runner in manufacturing all items needed for e-mobility in India rather than import them from other countries. He promised subsidies and exemptions for the use of e-mobility. Hibi Eden, MP, who chaired the event said that e-mobility was a new challenge and it needed encouragement and support from the Centre.
Bus, rail corridors
Principal Secretary (Transport) K.R. Jyothilal said that two pilot Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridors had been identified in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. A carbon-neutral solar semi-high-speed train corridor too had been planned in the State. In addition, the KMRL and Cochin Shipyard are set to jointly launch world-class, hybrid ferries (for the water metro project).
Almost 50% of the beneficiaries of e-autos would be women. Steps would be taken to install adequate number of fast/flash charging points. The emphasis was on ultra-low emission energy sources for e-vehicles, for which an agreement was inked with Birmingham University, U.K., he said.
Mr. Vijayan launched a charging station at an Indian Oil fuel outlet at Edapally and Centre of Excellence at Thiruvananthapuram virtually at the event.