THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Buoyed by the enthusiasm following the Transport Department’s trial of an electric bus here a fortnight ago, the state government has moved a step closer to introducing more number of electric vehicles (EV) in the state, with an an eye on its “green” impacts.
After the Finance Department sanctioned the EV or e-mobility policy draft after a few corrections the other day, the Transport Department, which has been handling it, forwarded it to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for approval.
The policy aims at reducing the number of vehicles on the road by introducing modern shared transport systems like air-conditioned e-buses and e-autorickshaws.
The policy is part of the NITI Aayog, Jhunjhunwala Commission which aims to move towards an all-electric fleet by 2030.
E-mobility in Kerala is another step taken by the state government for its development. The high vehicle population of over 1 crore vehicles on road in the state has made mobility a challenge and is accompanied by a rise in road accidents and air pollution. The state government took several measures to ensure sustainable development for its citizens, like upgrading and widening the NH to 45 m and constructing a coastal highway.
The transition to electric vehicles is the best choice for the state, in line with its development ideas as there is an urgent need to accelerate the use of clean energy technologies in various sectors to address the global challenges of energy security, climate change and sustainable development.
“KSRTC has proposed for the transition of its 50 per cent fleet of more than 6,000 buses into EV by 2030. This is expected to substantially reduce the heavy outflow due to fuel cost. The electricity cost per unit will be `5. KSRTC has also asked permission for charging facilities for other public vehicles on payment,” said KSRTC CMD Tomin J Thachankary.
KSRTC currently procures around 1,000 new buses annually and is planning to replace them with EVs, charging infrastructure and innovative electricity tariff. To get the vehicles, KSRTC is awaiting entry into the Centre’s FAME II list that provides subsidies for EVs.
KSEB chief engineer Pradeep said KSEB is responsible to set up charging stations and provide electricity at feasible prices to the EVs. Initially, it aims to establish charging stations at Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode
According to the policy, the role of Industries will be to establish hi-tech manufacturing industries in areas like design, power electronics and IT components for EVs. Kerala focuses on growing its manufacturing ecosystem and turning away from being an export-dependent, consumption driven economy.
Though air pollution in Kerala due to particulate matter does not exceed the national guideline value, it is substantially higher than World Health Organisation guidelines.
India’s transport sector is responsible for about 15 per cent of the country’s energy-related CO2 emissions and the accompanying impacts on air quality, public health, road safety and sustainable urban development. This determined action needs to be initiated to impede the air pollution in Kerala.