Govt's e-vehicle push doesn't move energy dept

Image for representation only.

While the government is promoting electric vehicles in a big way, the energy department, which is expected to take the lead, is doing little.

Of the 7,000 electric vehicles plying on Bengaluru’s roads, comprising both two-wheelers and four-wheelers, only five belong to officials of the energy department. Moreover, the department doesn’t own these vehicles, but has rented them out.

Currently, additional chief secretary, energy department, P Ravi Kumar; Bangalore Electricity Supply Corporation Ltd (Bescom) managing director C Shikha and Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) chairman M K Shankarlinge Gowda use these electric vehicles. Two more are used by the Bescom director (Technical) and Bescom’s electric vehicle section.

These vehicles are charged for eight hours or all night, after which they travel without any hindrance for eight hours. According to the department’s records, there are just 13,000 e-vehicles plying in the whole of Karnataka.

The department has been encouraging people to buy electric vehicles. Bescom has also invited tenders to set up 11 charging stations in the city.

But the department is hesitant in buying e-vehicles for its own use. At present, the Bescom head office has a fast charging (DC) and a slow charging (AC) station. Recently, at the KERC office, a slow charging station was unveiled. These two centres are currently catering to officials.

A department official justified: “Since there are rapid changes in technology, we did not want to invest in many electric vehicles at one go, lest they become obsolete. The officials should have the latest models with all features.”

“We have five electric vehicles in the department,” Shikha told DH.

“These vehicles are on rent and they are used by officials. More will be purchased in the coming days,” she added.
C K Sreenath, electric vehicles manager at Bescom said the department has been waiting for the standards to be finalised and issued by the Union government. So far, only part-1 of the standards have been issued. These standards, directing promotion of electric vehicles, were issued in September. Clarity on the type of charging stations are also awaited.

Sales up by 124%

E-vehicle sales in India jump 124%.Data obtained from the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) show that 25,000 EVs were sold in the previous year.
A growth 138% was recorded in the sales of electric two-wheelers in FY18. However, the four-wheeler sales have declined by 40% FY18.
Most of the manufacturers have started using lithium-ion batteries, which have increased the performance of electric two-wheelers and helped in gaining consumer confidence.

However, the absence of adequate finance mechanism and price gap between an electric two-wheeler and petrol two-wheeler are a deterrent.

Awareness among citizens must also be riased.
In the four-wheeler segment, lack of infrastructure, ambiguity over policy still remain the major deterrent.

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