Biggest electric car rally thrills Mumbai

by Autocar India 03 Oct 2021


Thirty fully-electric vehicles surged silently through the green lungs of Mumbai on October 2, as part of the historic Green Mumbai Drive 2021.

Organised by Autocar India and Adani Electricity, the first of its kind electric car rally in the country was flagged off by Aaditya Thackeray, State Minister for Tourism, Environment, and Protocol, along with fellow chief guest Jeet Adani of the Adani Group from the Mahalaxmi Race Course.

The Green Mumbai Drive 2021, which featured every electric car model sold in the country, saw participation from both EV owners and senior automotive industry executives. The EVs in the Green Mumbai Drive 2021 rally included the Hyundai Kona, MG ZS EV, Tata Nexon EV, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Tata Tigor EV, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Tesla Model X. Senior industry executives who took part in the drive included Balbir Singh Dhillon, Audi India brand head; Santosh Iyer, head of marketing and sales at Mercedes-Benz India; Rohit Suri, Jaguar India CEO; Amit Jain, sales and marketing head of Volvo India; and Vivek Srivatsa, marketing head of Tata Motors.

Participants drove in a convoy from the Race Course to the Kanheri Caves at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Aarey Colony, the Adani Electricity Management Institute off JVLR, and along the Vikhroli mangroves. The 110-km drive culminated at the Vikhroli Social restaurant.

Speaking at the event, Aaditya Thackeray said: “It is a great beginning to bring EVs into the limelight. Events such as these can clear doubts in the minds of people regarding electric vehicles. I look forward to more such events being organised between Mumbai and Pune, or Mumbai and Kolhapur to bust myths regarding EVs and encourage people to drive electric cars.”

The environment minister’s enthusiasm for EVs was evident in the way he jumped into the driver’s seat of a Tesla Model X after flagging off a few cars and drove part of the route himself.

“Adani Group is committed to sustainability. We have announced our plans to invest in green energy. Electric and fuel cell electric vehicles are the future of mobility,” said Jeet Adani.

The Green Mumbai Drive 2021, which will adhere to strict COVID-19 regulations and protocol, is aligned with both central and state governments’ commitment to addressing climate change.

“Close to 30 percent of our carbon footprint comes from transportation, and as Mumbai’s largest electric utility, Adani Electricity aims to lead the way in powering Mumbai’s transition to electric mobility with a goal to  drastically reduce carbon emissions,” said Kandarp Patel, MD and CEO, Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd.

What made the Green Mumbai Drive rally unique is the special access it afforded participants within Mumbai’s green zones. Participants were given special permission to drive on a restricted road inside the Sanjay National Gandhi Park, which is otherwise off limits for cars. Passing silently through the thick forest, the convoy of EVs presented an impressive sight and was a special experience for customers.

“Normally, we would never have been allowed to drive all the way to Kanheri Caves – this drive was truly a magical experience. We couldn’t believe we were in Mumbai,” said Dr Vishal Shinde, who owns a Hyundai Kona and uses it daily.

The Vikhroli Mangroves, which have been carefully preserved by Godrej & Boyce, provided a fitting end to the event. Again, this eco-sensitive area is not open to the public, but to promote EV awareness, Godrej & Boyce provided special access for the Green Mumbai Drive participants to drive through secluded roads that cut through the mangrove forest.

“You felt like you were in a sanctuary, just listening to the bird calls and songs. The way Godrej & Boyce have preserved this natural haven in the midst of a concrete jungle gives you hope that if there is a will to save the environment, it can be done. We need more corporates like this to help save our planet,” said Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India.

The entire 100km drive, which took around five hours, also demonstrated how electric cars are best suited to the cut and thrust of city traffic.