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With the ‘Smart Cities Mission’ launched by the Ministry of Urban Development close to seven years back, the country has seen substantial growth in terms of developing the cities and making them more citizen-friendly and sustainable. A smart city is a metropolitan region that utilises various sorts of electronic strategies and technology to gather exclusive information about the residents of that city. Data acquired from that information is utilised to organise and distribute resources, assets, and administrations effectively, and consequently, that information is utilised to further develop the city.

Smart cities are well equipped with modern technology and infrastructure to make the lives of citizens easy. For the past few years, the focus was on developing metros and roads for smarter mobility, high-tech offices, co-working spaces, and malls to give a push to smart infrastructure, and many such initiatives are being initiated. But with the growing population and global warming, the world is moving towards more sustainable ways of making the cities smarter and one of the major contributors to that is ‘Electric Vehicles’ or EVs.

The future of transportation in smart cities is at a point of inflection in India as Electric vehicle (EV) registrations saw a staggering 168% increase in 2021 compared to 2020. Consumers are becoming more conscious and are looking out for more sustainable options with lesser greenhouse gas emissions. EVs have invariably been considered as a solution whenever there is debate on rising oil prices or climate change. At the same time, the Government of India (GOI) is taking measures to limit the country’s dependency on fossil fuels and make electric cars (EVs) the primary replacement for internal combustion engine.

EV infrastructure gives a boost to smart cities

  • EV charging points will help give the gig workers and logistics industry a boost by helping them reduce their carbon footprint while making last-mile deliveries
  • Organised EV infrastructure will also help in managing traffic congestion which is a concern not just for Tier 1 but Tier 2 cities as well. The option of booking the charging slots in advance will make the customer aware about the available slots. Hence, instead of queuing up at one point, the consumers can explore other slots as well.
  • A robust charging infrastructure will also help in reducing ‘range anxiety’ amongst the users as the knowledge and information about the charging network will be resolved.

Hence, a higher ratio of charging points will be initially essential in order to instil customer’s confidence.

  • By installing EV infrastructure, the government and EV charger installation players can contribute to better utilisation of infrastructure via the help of technology. Users would know exactly where to charge their vehicles. For example: If an EV user plans to go to a mall, they would be able to charge their vehicles at the parking slot itself which would save them time and concern.
  • EV Zones which provide 5 EV charging points in one location will be a great utilisation of real estate as the users won’t have to look for another point when one is not available. These zones are in the likes of a petrol pump and can be put up around parks and public areas where the data shows higher traffic. Just that these zones would provide electricity instead of petrol.
  • EV two and three wheeler’s market has also seen a massive growth, as per a recent report the penetration of electric two-wheelers is predicted to reach roughly 72% in FY 2033–32. By FY2028–29, the sale of electric two-wheelers could surpass 2.2 crores.

Steps taken by the government to include EVs in smart cities

  • The FAME II scheme with a US$1.4 billion budget, aims to subsidise 7,090 electric buses, 5,00,000 electric three-wheelers, 5,50,000 electric passenger cars, and 10,00,000 electric two-wheelers. This would give a huge boost to shared mobility and help reduce the daily carbon footprint by public vehicles.
  • The Government has also announced massive Production Linked Incentives (PLIs) for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including battery manufacturers to accelerate the growth of EVs.
  • Various public and private stakeholders are coming together to set up a robust channel of EV infrastructure in the country by announcing partnerships and collaborations.

Future of EVs and smart cities

  • In India, the growth of electric mobility will boom with the growth of charging infrastructure, equality in pay per unit price and proper usage of technology.
  • For electric mobility to be truly effective, the government is making significant investments to develop pathways facilitating charging infrastructure that customers may leverage wherever they are.
  • According to a FICCI study, more than 4 lakh charging stations will be required to power the fleet of 20 lakh vehicles on the road by 2026.
  • Just like petrol pumps, EV charging stations will fulfil the charging needs of the users and the goal should be to have more EV charging stations than petrol pumps in the near future.

For smart cities in India, it is essential to have a robust EV infrastructure to support various day to day activities of the residents. Easier mobility and transportation aid in saving time, reducing carbon footprint, lowering stress and anxiety caused due to poor infrastructure. To fuel the Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of being an EV friendly country and expanding the EV landscape in India, efficient EV charging infrastructure is the key. EVs are here to stay and to keep on reminding the consumers to choose sustainability over fossil fuels.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Amit Lakhotia

Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 22.09.2022

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