Post Event Report: Smart Mobility Conference 2017

Optimizing e-mobility use for everyday life with greater thrust on use of public transport, e-mobility and metro as means of mass transit could prove game- changers in addressing the issue of air pollution in urban areas. Efficiently managing the mobility of people in a sustainable manner would be a key challenge for Indian cities. Hence, a viable solution to these entwined and complex challenges lies in implementing smart mobility solutions.

In view of this, FICCI organised the first edition of the Smart Mobility Conference on 20 November 2017 at Federation House, New Delhi. Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India was the Guest of Honor and gave the Inaugural address in the conference.

With enriched deliberations from business leaders and market experts, the conference aimed to deliver the highest quality content, explore a future urban mobility ecosystem and highlight economic avenues for investment. The conference brought together Central and State government officials, policy makers, industry and academia on a common platform to deliberate on key developments and challenges for smart transport infrastructure in India and the way forward.

Key Highlights

The Smart Mobility Conference opened dialogue on sustainable, digital and integrated mobility with participation of more than 250 people from the transport and urban sector such as government officials, leading infrastructure developers, metro rail experts, investors & financial institutions, Intelligent Transport System (ITS) companies, automobile companies, city planners and other relevant stakeholders from the sector.

On the occasion, the Hon’ble Minister released the FICCI-Rocky Mountain Institute Knowledge Paper titled, ‘Enabling Transition for Electric Mobility in India’.

To compliment the theme of the conference, Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited showcased two of its electric cars throughout the conference. Mr Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited, shared his vision and ideas for switching from traditional mobility to clean and smart mobility. 

FICCI announced the setting up of a task force on E-mobility, with representation from various members of the industry who are working towards building a conducive environment for implementing e-mobility solutions in the country.

The following key dignitaries in the inaugural session of the Smart Mobility Conference 2017 shared their perspective regarding the way forward for smart mobility solutions in the country:

Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India Mr Pankaj R Patel, President, FICCI, Chairman & Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited Mr K Ramchand, Chairman, FICCI National Committee on Infrastructure, Managing Director, IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited Dr Amory Lovins, Co-founder, Chairman Emeritus and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute Mr Poul V. Jensen, Director, European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC)

Hon’ble Minister emphasized on the use of biofuel and electricity to run public transport as it would be environment friendly and cost effective. The Minister added that India is an electric-surplus and coal surplus country and the nation can capitalize on this advantage to become an all-electric vehicle hub in the world. Having steered the country’s first electric vehicles project in Nagpur, the Minister said that, at present, there are 200 electric taxis in Nagpur along with 200 charging stations and by next month charging capacity of more than 10,000 cars will be created. The government is planning to increase the number of electric taxis from 200 to 2000 in Nagpur. Increasing production will also reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery over time, which almost makes up for 40% of the total cost of an electric vehicle.

Shri Nitin Gadkari concluded by highlighting that cost effective, indigenous, import substitute and pollution free electric vehicles is the smart mobility solution for India.

Mr Pankaj R Patel, during his welcome address, highlighted the focus of this conference in building a sustainable, digital and integrated mobility ecosystem. According to Mr Patel, new business models and disruptive technologies in the field of mobility are going to bring about a significant change in our daily lives through effective mobility management and our government’s efforts to embrace this future-oriented mobility ecosystem will go a long way in making our country the hub of smart mobility in the world.

On the occasion, FICCI-Rocky Mountain Institute knowledge report on ‘Enabling India’s Transition to Electric Mobility’ was unveiled by Shri Nitin Gadkari and other dignitaries. The report highlights the way forward to accelerate electric mobility in India by addressing the key areas of public transportation, shared mobility services, interoperable transport data, EV charging infrastructure and manufacturing.

While launching the FICCI taskforce on e-mobility, Mr K Ramchand, said that, FICCI will coordinate with the government and the industry on devising a roadmap for transition to smart mobility through stakeholder meetings, policy representation to the government and by working on in-house research reports for dissimination of required information to the stakeholders.

Mr Ramchand further stated that India imports 82% of its oil requirements and switching to clean mobility can cut the oil import bill by around $60 billion in the next few years. Around 31% of our population resides in urban areas and this figure is likely to reach 50% by 2030. This indicates the need for smart urban transportation to manage the mobility needs of the growing urban population.

Earlier delivering the Special Address at the Inaugural, Dr Amory Lovins, highlighted that shared, electric, and connected mobility is key to India’s transition to electric mobility. According to Dr Lovins, signs indicate that the pace of India’s energy transformation could be astonishing: the nation singlehandedly reduced the cost of LEDs by 80% in one year, and the Government of India has set its sights on an ambitious target of 100% electric vehicles by 2030.

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Mr Poul V. Jensen said that EBTC is working towards helping India implement the European smart mobility solutions in an indigenized way. He suggested that exploring innovative financing models for smart mobility solutions is crucial at this moment along with drawing a roadmap for the manufacturing and procurement of the electric vehicles in India.

The first business session on ‘Optimizing Electric-Mobility Solutions & Green Technologies for Mass Urban Transit/ City’s Sustainability’ provided an opportunity for the speakers to discuss the value proposition of smart transportation such as e-cars, e-buses, e-rickshaws and e-bike. Ideas were shared regarding multimodal integration to develop an efficient public transport network. Deliberation ranged from creating economically-viable and shared infrastructure to Smart transport as a fillip to AMRUT, Make in India and Smart City Mission. The panelists consisted of high-level officials from companies such as Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited, Indo German Energy Forum (GIZ), Fortum India Private Limited and Lohia Auto Industries who talked about the emerging trends in the mobility sector and identified ways to make India a smart mobility hub.

In the second business session on ‘Intelligent Transport Systems and Digital Technologies for Better Traffic Flow Management’, the panelists highlighted ways of adopting Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to improve effectiveness, efficiency and safety. Ideas were exchanged for integrating ITS with public transport system for daily operations, public information, road safety vigilance, control, and providing real time information. The speakers also spoke about decongesting roads for relieving traffic, Smart parking solutions and the economic potential of real-time services including ridesharing, shuttle and carpooling. International best practices in the area of ITS were also discussed amongst the panelists from organizations such as Fairwood, Lumiplan India Operations, Avanto Ventures India, Shuttl and Primerail Infralabs Private Limited.

The third and the final business session on ‘Development of Urban Metro Rail for Smart Urban Transportation’ had focused discussion on enabling urban transportation choices including alternative methods of mobility such as metro, monorail, bus rapid transit systems, electric tramways, electric trolley buses, light rail and pod taxi. The panelists also highlighted the new innovations enabling technology, safety and driverless operation in metro transport. Other key topics discussed during the panel discussion included- Land monetization and value capture financing and the emerging financing opportunities. The final session had speakers from Alstom, IL&FS Rail Limited, Doppelmayr India Private Limited, Siemens Limited and Ecorys India Private Limited.