A study on public awareness on Electric Vehicles (EV) conducted by SwitchON Foundation was released at the Multi-Stakeholder Meet at the 3-day Electric Vehicle Carnival organised by the New Town Development Authority (NKDA) at Eco Park on 2nd October. The study revealed 76.8% believed that making the shift to EV will improve air quality and. The aim of the study was to understand the awareness on electric vehicles and the report gave us valuable insights on areas that need attention. The cumulative percentage of people wanting to own an EV via the study stood at 53.3%, with the majority percentage of women wanting to invest in an EV of their own at 75%.
The multi-stakeholder meeting hosted by SwitchON Foundation at the carnival on 2nd Oct. 2021 brought together eminent government officers, distinguished professors from Institutes like IIM Calcutta, UEM, business heads and EV Startup co-founders to discuss the smooth transition to Electric Mobility. All stakeholders highlighted that the transport sector is one of the major contributors to Air Pollution in cities and requires strong steps to be undertaken to make the transition to sustainable mobility. Electric vehicles have zero emissions and are, therefore, eco friendly with low maintenance costs mainly consisting of battery replacements depending on the amount of usage.
Shri Debashish Sen, Chairman cum Managing Director HIDCO Ltd. in his keynote address said, “The Govt of West Bengal has come up with an EV Policy, many people are coming forward to buy EV’s, but are finding financing to be a problem, and we are bringing companies and banks to make it possible” He further spoke, “We have decided to form a centre of excellence about Electric Vehicles as there is very little information that is available to the public about it. Soon we’ll be trying to transition to Zomato and others to e-bikes and e -bicycles. C 40 award for electric buses will be available within 2030 and 2000 buses will be available in Kolkata so that there are no fuel buses. At the moment 80 electric buses are running. Within 3 to 4 months before the end of this financial year, Kolkata and adjacent areas will have enough charging stations.” Mr Sen was also the first person to have an Electric Vehicle in the Kolkata New Town area.
Speaking at the event Mr Vinay Jaju, MD of SwitchON Foundation said, “It’s a matter of time that Electric Vehicles will take over fuel-based vehicles, and the switch will be just as fast as the led lighting revolution. It’s not just about saving money but also ensuring clean air which will drive demand for EVs in the future.”
The carnival meet was an endeavour to have a discussion on Sustainable Mobility and the need to promote awareness on Electric vehicles and brought together various stakeholders to discuss the transition of fuel-based vehicles and even non-motorised transport to electric vehicles and mobility.
Prof. Chandradeep Mitra of IIM Calcutta who himself has been driving an Electric Vehicle for last 5 years said “ Greater adoption of Electric Vehicles needs a multi-stakeholder ecosystem approach – involving Manufacturers, Governments, Media, Service Providers, Housing Societies, and of course, consumers & Prominent Influencers – to be able to gather critical mass and use the power of ‘Network Effects’.”
Col Indrajit Roy, who leads the Newtown Business club at the roundtable said, “It’s time businesses adopt and convert their fleet to Electric vehicles to breathe healthily, Be Healthy, Be more profitable. It’s important for business and also for our children”.
According to the analysis of the data collected, roughly only 26% of the respondents were aware of the EV Policy of West Bengal rolled out recently. The West Bengal Electric Vehicles Policy of 2021, released on 3rd June, was an effort to achieve net-zero transport emission in order to enable 10 lakh EVs on-road and develop about 1 lakh charging stations all by 2026.
The way forward stands at spreading awareness on the financial and economic advantages of an EV to the public, increasing the number of charging stations to be able to go the distance and providing Subsidies for purchasing EVs as motivation for a sustainable future.