Some very concrete announcements have been made at the Karnataka EV Summit held on 30th January with an aim to boost electrification of vehicles, their adoption by the public, and of course for the sake of the environment. For starters, the state of Karnataka has procured a total of 3000 electric buses for public transport which will pretty much serve as the beginning of an electric revolution in the state. Besides this, the state will also allow corporates and private users to buy electric three-wheelers and private fleet operators of both cars and buses will be eligible for additional benefits if they choose to go electric.
Karnataka state government has also announced that electric vehicles will be exempted of road tax and the government will now be working on setting up charging infrastructure, including battery swapping stations.
CEO at Mahindra Electric Mahesh Babu said during the summit: “Karnataka took the lead and was the first state to come up with an EV policy. Inputs from industries and start-ups were taken for the policy, which has helped to develop the overall EV ecosystem.
“We have learned that EVs are still at the R&D stage and we need to invest more in research so EV volumes can grow. Besides, about 100 fast charging stations in Bangalore will help remove charging anxiety in the city,” he added.
Mahesh Babu further opined that the current need of the hour is to convert public transport to EVs. The demand will come from two- and three-wheelers and both fast charging and battery swapping tech will play a critical role to promote EVs in India.
To boost last mile connectivity electric three-wheelers like Mahindra Treo would play a big role especially with the Metro train system being set up in various Indian cities and other smart city projects, he added.
During the summit, Darpan Jain, IAS, Commissioner for Industrial Development & Director of Industries and Commerce, mentioned that Karnataka will get more than 1000 hubs to facilitate EV charging, battery swapping and shared mobility. He further added that within the next one year, the state government will invest Rs 100 crore on EV start-ups and Rs 10,000 crore of investment will be made for the development of the EV ecosystem across the state.
Besides being the first state to implement an EV policy, Karnataka is also leading in terms of the lowest carbon footprint in the country with over 50% of the state's electricity being generated from renewable sources.
In a bid to further this lead, Karnataka government aims to boost electric mobility in the state. The government will set up designated areas for electric scooters on shared mobility platforms, replace 50% of all government vehicles with electric alternatives by 2020, and set up fast chargers along important highways like Bangalore-Chennai and Bangalore-Mysore.
Moreover, Bangalore aims to replace 6000 of buses in the city with electric ones and ensure that future procurements would all be EVs as well. Also, public parking spaces will have a reserved space for EVs and will be added with charging stations as well.
Besides Mahindra, Tata Motors will also be supplying electric vehicles to the state. It has been announced that a total of 255 Tata Motors electric buses will be supplied to six cities across the state. These buses will be manufactured at Tata Motors's plant at Dharwad in Karnataka. A company representative suggested during the summit that more than 1.6 lakh electric buses will be required across top Indian cities for EVs to have an impact.