High-powered Indian electric delegation seeks Birmingham expertise

Government officials from India visited the University of Birmingham to discover how research experts might work with policymakers to help introduce electric vehicles into the state of Kerala.

Led by Kerala’s Transport Minister Shri A K Saseendran, a delegation of senior officials who formulated the state’s policy on electric vehicles met Costas Constantinou, Professor of Communication Electrodynamics and a number of Birmingham scientists.

Hosted by the University’s India Institute, the Transport Minister and his delegates were welcomed by Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), before taking part in a roundtable discussion with academics.

Professor Mason commented: “We’re delighted to welcome our distinguished guests to the University of Birmingham, as part of our long-standing engagement with India. We hope their visit marks the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.

“The University of Birmingham has deep expertise in a number of scientific and engineering specialisms relating to electric vehicles. We hope to work closely with the state government in helping the people of Kerala adopt this environment-friendly form of transport.

“As a civic university with a global outlook, our University of Birmingham India Institute affirms the University’s deep and continued commitment to the country, and our aim to contribute to Indian society, as our researchers forge links with counterparts to change millions of lives for the better.”

Kerala leads the way among Indian states in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals and has declared an ambitious e-mobility vision and implementation policy. The State Government is piloting 10 electric buses on inter-city routes and intends to tender for another 1,500 electric buses going forward.

The State Government has set targets of having one million electric vehicles by 2022, complete switch to electric buses in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram by March 2021 and 100% electric vehicles by 2030. Kerala has also set-up a 1.5 million e-mobility fund.

The visit to the University of Birmingham is part of a ‘Knowledge Mission’ organised for the State Government by the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai and the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT).

Delegates are engage with UK experts in charging and storage infrastructure, battery manufacture, technology and recycling, electric motors and vehicle technology. They have plans to establish a centre of excellence for Electric Vehicles in the state.