Always being a front runner to preserve the environment and ensure sustainable development for the State, it is not surprising that Kerala is racing to make the transition to electric mobility. At present, there are over 10 million vehicles running in the State and due to this compelling circumstance, it feels the need to make this transition fast. Hence, it is one of the eight states to create a viable Electric Vehicle policy and a robust ecosystem to foster green and shared mobility and join the country’s sprint to e-mobility shift.
Kerala has set ambitious targets to electrify all vehicles by 2030 and has plans to introduce one million EVs by 2022. This includes a pilot fleet of 200,000 2-wheelers, 50,000 3-wheelers, 1000 goods carriers, 3000 buses and 100 boats.
The multi-pronged approach that Kerala has adopted creates the following implications:
- Incentivizes the end user
- Creates standardized specifications
- Promotes local manufacturing of EV and its components
- Creates awareness and policies along with adequate training and skill development
HOW IS KERALA GETTING IT RIGHT?
Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is in-charge of the power supply and building infrastructure for EV charging. Initially, 20 charging stations will be set up as a pilot in the districts of Trivandrum, Ernakulam and Kozhikode and 150 swapping stations of 2W/3W/4W capacity across the three districts. The KSEB is also looking at collaborating with oil companies such as BPCL and IOCL to set up additional battery swapping stations in petrol stations jointly.
State-of-the-art Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Management Systems will be deployed to help the EV drivers to locate the nearest charging and swapping stations and schedule a charging slot.
Forming an overarching goal to boost the manufacturing of auto and auto components locally, the Kerala Automobiles Ltd. (KAL) has decided to collaborate with private sector partners such as HESS, Swiss electric bus maker to initially assemble and subsequently manufacture e-buses. KAL plans to produce around 3,000 electric buses for Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). KSRTC has also invited bids from EV makers for the supply of 1,500 e-buses on a wet lease contract.
Incentives & Policies
The manufacturing units set up for EV will enjoy all benefits under the industrial policies of the State. A fund is being initiated to empower the local manufacturers for technology acquisition and to collaborate with technology suppliers globally. Speedy land allotment to concession in electricity tariffs, capital subsidies and tax breaks, the State is ensuring that the required policy push is provided to accelerate the growth and support the EV ecosystem. Manufacturing of different components and units such as the electric drivetrain and power electronics, battery management system, swappable battery model which comes under the IT and ESDM policy will be also eligible for incentives.
Skill building & R&D Centres
In addition to incorporating emerging technologies of the industry to the curriculum of the technical schools, specific skill programs will be formed for the professionals in the areas related to EV. Centres of Excellence and innovation will be established as well by the State Government to sustain and make this e-mobility transition smoother.
Kerala will also build a state of art infrastructure in Trivandrum for safely testing autonomous vehicles and also a mobility corridor equipped with high capacity fibre optic road connecting various road infrastructure.
The State will create e-mobility zones and as part of their pilot project to address the last mile connectivity, some of the potential areas are tourist spots like Munnar & Kovalam, technology hubs and CBD of Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode. Also, henceforth in these districts permits will be given to EV auto rickshaws only. Heavily subsidised electricity tariffs of 5-5.5 per unit will be offered to EV charging stations. KSEBL is planning to set up initial 20 charging and swapping stations across the above-mentioned pilot districts. To promote early adoption several Fiscal and non-fiscal incentives will be provided such state tax breaks, road tax exemptions, free permits to fleet drivers.
The mass adoption of EV will bring various benefits to the State which not only includes curtailing environment pollution but will also make socio-impact by creating employment and a complete makeover of the auto industry.