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Third edition of electric vehicle innovation challenge launched

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AHMEDABAD, June 27 (PTI): The third edition of the iCreate’s electric vehicle innovation challenge — EVangelise 23 — was launched here on Tuesday to identify and nurture startups, which can help solve real-life challenges of the EV ecosystem by providing indigenous solutions.

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This time, the focus is to identify startups which can develop EV components for four-wheelers, heavy-duty mining and construction vehicles like mining trucks, earthmovers and crawler drill machines, said iCreate CEO Avinash Punekar.

iCreate, or International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology, is a state-government-supported innovation-based startup incubator having its campus near the city.

“The aim of EVangelise 23 is to identify and nurture game-changing innovations, which can help solve real-life challenges in our EV eco-system. One of the main challenges is our dependence on foreign technology and components for all classes of electric vehicles,” Punekar told PTI ahead of the launch event here on Tuesday.

Thanks to the startups working in the EV sector, the dependence on foreign parts and technology has been reduced because these entities have indigenised 85 per cent of components, which are currently used in electric vehicles, mostly two-wheelers and three-wheelers, he said.

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“This year, our focus is on developing components for four-wheelers as well as heavy vehicles, such as earthmovers and mining trucks,” said Punekar.

To nurture startups working in that area, iCreate has already inked an MoU with Technology Innovation in Exploration & Mining Foundation (TEXMiN), a mining technology innovation hub of the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad.

“With the help of TEXMiN, we will enable startups to work on the electrification of mining equipment, like crawler drill machines as well as heavy-duty construction equipment. This is for the first time in the country when such large vehicles and equipment will be converted to electric-powered vehicles,” said Punekar.

Some of the startups will also look into the possibility of retrofitting and electrification of existing fossil fuel-powered mining vehicles and equipment, he added.

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“Instead of scrapping an old vehicle, it can be converted into an electric vehicle if the chassis and body are in good condition. One such retrofitted electric car is already there at our campus.

“This approach will be required to convert existing mining equipment into electric equipment,” said Punekar, adding that it will be a great step towards decarbonising the mining industry.

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