The Government of Kerala’s transport department organised an international conference and expo on e-mobility and alternative fuels titled ‘Evolve 2023’ from January 19-21, 2023, in Thiruvananthapuram. ICLEI South Asia, which has been working with the transport department on several projects, marked its presence in discussions at the meet.
Kerala introduced its electric vehicle (EV) policy in 2018 to accelerate the penetration of EVs, explore cleaner fuel alternatives, promote sustainable transportation practices through pollution reduction, energy efficiency and conservation, develop an ecosystem in the state for the manufacture of EVs, and to bring one million EVs onto the road.
The conference was held to help fast-track the transition. It was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and was attended by Transport Minister Shri Antony Raju, Industries Minister Shri P Rajeev, finance Minister Shri. K N. Balagopal, and Revenue and Housing Minister Shri. K. Rajan, as well as Hon’ble Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation Smt. Arya Rajendran S, and Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, Dr. V.P. Joy, besides several other senior officials, policymakers, industry leaders and national and international experts. They exchanged ideas for facilitating the shift from fossil fuels to cleaner and more efficient alternatives, and discussed issues such as operating public transport on green fuels, the alternative fuel approach in maritime freight and other multi-mode transport, hydrogen fuel for green mobility, and building resilient infrastructure for e-mobility.
In his remarks, Mr Vijayan said that global warming is the most serious crisis that is causing natural calamities and that decarbonisation of the transport sector is necessary. He added that Kerala has set targets and drawn detailed roadmaps for faster adoption of electric mobility to reduce dependency on conventional fuels.
In a session on ‘Building Resilient Infrastructure for E-mobility’, Deputy Director of ICLEI South Asia Mr Ashish Rao Ghorpade spoke on the need for developing charging infrastructure, keeping in mind the changing needs, long-term goals and sustainability of efforts. He stressed on the need for making the local built environment EV-ready by laying out clear regulations and processes, which will involve active engagement with government and non-government stakeholders to ensure that the infrastructure is responsive to varied user behaviour and needs.
ICLEI South Asia has been working with Kochi city in Kerala on enabling a transition to clean energy and low-carbon transportation since 2015, via the European Union-funded Solutions Initiative. Through the EcoLogistics project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action through its International Climate Initiative, Kochi has been supported in developing a baseline study and low carbon action plan for urban freight and a demonstration project to introduce 20 electric 3-wheeler freight vehicles for accelerating the transition to EVs in the last-mile delivery process, with the involvement of the Kerala transport department. ICLEI South Asia had early worked with the transport department on a proposal for building a multi-modal logistics hub in Kochi and on a report for the Kerala freight special purpose vehicle.