Kerala’s pragmatic EV policy. Focus on pollution control

The Kerala Cabinet has finally gave its nod to its Electric Vehicle policy after mulling over it since June. The main aim has been centered around tackling the vehicular pollution in the state.

The Kerala government Cabinet has approved the Electric Vehicle Policy. With 10 Million vehicles currently running on its roads, it aims to convert 10% of its vehicles fleet into electric by 2022

The government has decided to frame the policy taking into account the pollution caused by vehicles using fossil fuels. The policy envisages a phased reduction in pollution, fuel-saving measures and increase in the use of electric vehicles. The main aim has been centered around tackling the vehicular pollution in the state.

In a press release issued by the Transport Department, Government of Kerala, the state has chalked out a road map for an Electric Vehicle Policy (EVP).

The 6,000 bus fleet of the KSRTC will gradually shift to electric vehicles as per the policy. With this, the government aims to provide comfortable public transport, apart from reduction in air and noise pollution.

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) all over cities and on highways. Around 20 charging stations and 150 swapping stations will be built initially in Trivandrum, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode. Battery swapping infrastructure will be as per the standards for battery swapping to be formulated under the policy.

However, the state has given itself a very small window to convert its fleet fully electrical including all classes of motor vehicles by 2030. The plan elaborates to bring one million EVs on the road by 2022 and create a pilot fleet of 200,000 two-wheelers, 50,000 three-wheelers, 1,000 goods carriers, 3000 buses and 100 ferry boats by 2020.

The Transition policy will include the creation of charging infrastructure, incentives, standardisation of specifications and industry friendly policies and regulations. The state’s EVP will adopt Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) approach papers for standardizing the grid access for EV charging infrastructure.

There are over 20 eco-sensitive spots in Kerala

Following the footsteps of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, a technical advisory body, Mobility State Level Task Force (e-MobSLTF), has also been set up to initiate and further develop e-mobility in Kerala. After the state has sufficient availability of electric vehicles and charging-swapping stations, Kerala might take up environmentally-fragile areas and convert all four wheelers as electric vehicles, enforcing them as pollution free EV zones.

The policy eyes enhanced employment opportunities by the creating of an ecosystem suited for electric vehicles. Batteries and electric motors needed for such vehicles will be manufactured in the state. By shifting to all-electric means, operators of vehicles like autorickshaws and taxis can reduce fuel expenses considerably, the policy added.

The e-mobility policy offers an incentive of ₹30,000 or 25 per cent of EVs in the first year to purchase of three wheelers. It has mapped out Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode as zones for EV autorickshaws initially.

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