The move to convert official vehicles is part of the carbon neutral governance project in Kerala.

A big white car parked against the setting sun
news Environment Friday, November 06, 2020 - 19:55

The cars, appearing like regular fossil fuel-run vehicles on the road, will have only the accelerator and the brake to make it function. No gearbox, no clutch. It will also save carbon, and therefore the environment. Fifty such cars – all running on electricity – will be launched on Saturday, to be used by various departments of the Kerala government. The government’s nodal agency for renewable source of energy, ANERT, will hand over the vehicles as part of the carbon neutral governance project in Kerala.

Leased vehicles will be provided to government departments based on their requirement. Since the government order came in March, more than 20 departments have already registered and ordered leased electric vehicles from ANERT. Out of the 50 vehicles being launched on Saturday, 45 will go to the Motor Vehicles Department (which had ordered 65) and the remaining five to other departments.

“ANERT will get the vehicles from the union government’s EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited), which comes under the Ministry of Power. Three types of cars are being ordered – Tata Tigor EV, Tata Nixon EV and Hyundai Kona EV. A single charge on a Tata Tigor will let you drive up to 100 km,” says Manoharan, Technical Officer of ANERT.

The contract is for six to eight years depending on the type of car, and rents too shall vary accordingly.

Charging stations will be made available across the state. As of Saturday, 10 charging stations will begin to function – four provided by ANERT and the remaining by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). More than a hundred of these stations are planned to be developed within three months. As of now charging at these public stations will be free. Charging points can also be made available outside houses.

“The car runs with the help of a motor and controller. The motor will convert DC to AC through the battery and power the wheel. There is no need to change oil or oil filter. With no clutch, gearbox, silencer or radiator, you save a lot of maintenance cost. The battery also has an eight year warranty. The cars will have a maximum speed of 120 km/hour,” Manoharan says. 

ANERT's proposal

ANERT made a proposal to the government and the latter came up with a policy decision that all contract vehicles for all departments be made electric in the first phase. It will be leased centrally through ANERT.

“We initiated the project since we want the functioning of the government to be made more carbon neutral and environment friendly,” says ANERT Director Amit Meena.

There are two areas of focus – one, to use solar energy in all government buildings, and two, to convert the government vehicles to e-vehicles. “Working hours of government offices are during the day, and that’s when we get the maximum solar energy, hence it is ideal to solarise all such places. The recurring charges on electricity can be reduced and the environment can benefit from a cleaner source of energy. The second focus is on the mobility of officials and government employees who are commuting for work every day – electrifying their vehicles could save a lot of cost to the environment,” says Amit Meena.

Watch: E-autos rolled out in Thiruvananthapuram as part of smart city mission

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