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Webinar on Sustainable Mobility and State Budget: Accelerating EV Adoption in Karnataka

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Bengaluru, Mar 02: Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the new wave of transportation that promise to be the future of sustainable mobility. They are increasingly becoming the more popular choice of transport around the world due to their many advantages, including low fuel costs, reduced emissions, lower maintenance, and eco- friendliness.

Webinar on Sustainable Mobility and State Budget: Accelerating EV Adoption in Karnataka

Karnataka is set to make great strides in building an EV ecosystem. To this end, the Resurgent India Trust conducted a webinar which explored how the government can promote sustainable mobility solutions that will help Karnataka thrive in cleaner, greener ways. It brought together a diverse set of experts who identified key themes and challenges of EV mobility in Karnataka. The webinar participants examined and discussed innovative solutions to address these challenges and propose policy interventions required to make EVs a reality.

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Karnataka has been a pioneer in sustainable mobility and was the first state to introduce an Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy in 2017. It has spearheaded multiple measures to promote greener transport, including the setting up of 112 new charging stations last year, and aims to achieve 100% e-mobility in auto-rickshaws, cab aggregators, corporate fleets, and school buses/vans by 2030. However, Karnataka can do more to ensure affordable and accessible sustainable mobility options and make the state India's leader in the EV sector. An innovative and dynamic support system, including both the state government and private stakeholders, is required. With the state budget for 2021-22 financial year to be presented shortly, and with sky-rocketing fuel prices, now is the most appropriate time to explore how Karnataka can incentivise sustainable, efficient, and integrated urban EV systems across the state.

The webinar saw an engaging discussion around solutions to improve the electric mobility ecosystem in Karnataka, with a target to make Bangalore an 'EV Capital' of India. The webinar was moderated by Prof. M.V Rajeev Gowda, Managing Trustee, Resurgent India Trust, and Ex-Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha' and the panelists included key experts and opinion leaders in the field of electric mobility, both from government organisations and the private sector: Kapil Mohan, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka & Principal Secretary, Energy and Infrastructure Development; Gunjan Krishna, IAS, Commissioner for Industrial Development, Government of Karnataka; Pawan Mulukutla, Director, Electric Mobility, World Resources Institute; Dr. Praveer Sinha, CEO, TATA Power; Vivekananda Hallekere, CEO and Co-Founder, Bounce; Mr. Nagesh Basavanhalli, Group CEO, Greaves Cotton Limited; B. C. Datta (Vice President, Corporate Affairs, OLA Electric.

Speaking at the webinar, Kapil Mohan, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka & Principal Secretary, Energy and Infrastructure Development said Karnataka was at the forefront of the EV ecosystem in the country. The State aims to push further EV adoption by converting government vehicles to electric and potentially using the vast solar power surplus to fuel EV charging stations.

Gunjan Krishna, IAS, Commissioner for Industrial Development, Government of Karnataka, stressed the importance of incentivisation in the EV sector through subsidies for land, manufacturing plants, machinery etc. She also proposed establishing "EV Clusters" in partnership with private companies, in districts and towns throughout the state, that would focus on accelerating EV development and adoption through R&D and testing centres, skill- building and training institutions and technical and manufacturing enterprises.

Dr. Praveer Sinha proposed the allocation of government land to the EV sector, especially for the establishment of charging infrastructure and reiterated the importance of the government's role in integrating electric mobility with the public and private transport system.

Pawan Mulukutla suggested that the two main factors needed to boost the EV market are creating demand and awareness on the consumer side and providing both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives on the producer/manufacturer side. Further, that the government must play a role in this.

Nagesh Basavanhalli agreed with Mr. Pawan, and stated that creating and disseminating awareness about the benefits of EV adoption is crucial. He also stated the importance of improving battery logistics, as that seems to be a major hurdle in the current EV ecosystem.

B. C. Datta talked about how the use of heritage sites like the Hubli-Dharwad corridor would be suitable for setting up EV manufacturing plants.

Vivekananda Hallekere highlighted the importance of attracting young entrepreneurs and start-ups into the EV landscape. He also suggested focusing on integrating battery- swapping technology and to work towards either retrofitting old two and three-wheelers or developing new EV two and three-wheelers as they could form an untapped market.

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    The inputs compiled in the webinar will be shared with the State government in the hope that the upcoming state budget will reflect the progressive ideas discussed today. With such a range of innovative players in the EV space, we can look forward to Karnataka becoming a leader in the EV space.

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