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17 Nov 2019, Edition - 1587, Sunday

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Coimbatore

Fully ‘charged’ about electric run

Ajay Menon

As Tamil Nadu waits for a new policy on electric vehicles, Coimbatore, which has made great strides through the City’s own Ampere Vehicles, should become a hub for manufacturing E-vehicles, says pioneer Hemalatha Annamalai.

The Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to come up with an electric vehicle policy shortly, should be reason enough for the State and Coimbatore in particular, to be enthused as the City is a front-runner in manufacturing E-vehicles.

A pioneer in E-vehicle manufacturing, Hemalatha Annamalai, the Chief Executive of Coimbatore’s Ampere Vehicles, told The Covai Post that the announcement of such a policy was most welcome as it would also make Coimbatore the hub of manufacturing such vehicles.

‘Go green’ has been the driver for quite sometime now. And this decision to have a policy for clean vehicles comes at a time when Coimbatore has already shown the way through the formation of the Society for Smart E-Mobility (SSEM).

With limitations over the use of fossil fuels, coupled with growing awareness about vehicle pollution, there has been a sense of urgency to look at cleaner and safer energy to run vehicles. And this makes electric vehicles (EVs) gain greater relevance.

Hemalatha’s Ampere, which has helped put Coimbatore on the national map, has even seen Greaves Cotton take a big stake in the venture. From two- and three-wheelers to e-vehicles, the journey has been a long one. The new policy is expected to put the industry into top gear. But, for this to happen, there are a few things that the government needs to do. That explains the formation of SSEM, which Hemalatha is part of. There were a number of suggestions that have been made to get the E-vehicle policy on track.

Those in the industry look back to the time when subsidy for such vehicles was suddenly withdrawn, leaving the sector in a quandary. Financial support is essential and this has been raised through a set of recommendations made by the SSEM. Among others, the recommendations include demand for a 20 per cent subsidy by the State Government for new vehicles over and above that given by the Centre. Subsidies should also be offered to manufacturers. Besides, interest-free loans should be given through a ‘green fund’.

The SSEM suggests that charging stations should be set up at all Government offices which would prove beneficial to staff and general public. Such stations should also come up at bus and auto stands, petrol bunks and major companies. The Government could look at the public-private participation model as this could ease the financial burden of setting up such stations.

The Government should encourage EV component manufacturers by providing them with incentives. Industries could be encouraged to shift to EV sector for which the Government could look at providing funds and tax concessions. The policy should also have a clarity on kit conversion.

What would make the process easier, is a single window clearance system for licensing and approvals for EV manufacturing units. There is a general consensus that the government and industry should have battery swapping centres like in the case of LPG cylinders where vehicle owners can swap their used batteries for charged ones at the centres where refilling can be done later.

Once the policy is announced, proper awareness must be created among people so they can transition to the next big revolution which will change our roads completely.

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