City's first charging station opens today

City's first charging station opens today

City's first charging station opens today

A  staggering 72 lakh vehicles ply on Bengaluru roads. Of them, only about 6,200 are electric.

One of the reasons for the low number of electric vehicles is the lack of charging ports in the city.

The government is now stepping in with an initiative: the first public charging station is set for inauguration on Monday.

That's good news for motorists who have chosen to go electric.

Electric cars now in use in Bengaluru serve as city vehicles, enabling intra-city commutes. In their current avatar, they aren't geared for inter-city travel.

The Reva and its successor, the electric car produced in Bengaluru, can go up to 80 km on a charge.

The Karnataka government is keen to promote electric vehicles, and as part of its mandate, it is encouraging Bescom to set up charging stations.

"We are constantly debating how to go about it and what technology to adopt. We are at an initial stage and this project is in line with the Karnataka government's Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage policy, initiated in May 2017," says C K Sreekanth, Deputy General Manager (Smart Grid and Electric Vehicles), Bescom. This idea of public charging stations was mooted in early 2017.

Vehicle users now charge at home; some malls also provide ports. "Charging stations are one of the most elementary components in the ecosystem of electric vehicles. When vehicles owned by fleet operators, cab aggregators and private individuals are on the road, there needs to be proper infrastructure," Sreekanth observes.

Way forward?

Dr Ashish Verma, associate professor of transportation engineering, Department of Civil Engineering,

Indian Institute of Science, is among those welcoming the initiative.

"Electric mobility is one step among many for a cleaner and more livable environment. This alone cannot solve the problems caused by pollution," he says.

Charging stations are necessary for wider and more sustainable use of electric vehicles, he told Metrolife.

He favours solar-energy based charging setups. "That will be a perfect solution," he says.

Netas must go electric

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar says, "Of the 72 lakh vehicles in the city, 40 lakh are two-wheelers. About a lakh are autos. The rest are cars and buses." He says the best bet for India to address its pollution problems is mass public transport.

"Buying and maintaining electric vehicles is expensive. And they can be used only within the city and within a speed limit," he says. Government subsidies can promote electric vehicles, Heblikar says. "Also, ministers and bureaucrats should set an example by using electric vehicles," he says.

HOW MANY PUBLIC CHARGING STATIONS NOW?

Only one, and it is opening today. It features two fast DC charging units and one AC charging unit.

HOW MANY STATIONS ARE COMING UP?

11 across the city. Indiranagar, Electronics City, Koramangala, Banaswadi, Jayanagar and Banashankari will have operational stations in six months, according to Bescom.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CHARGE A VEHICLE?

Four wheelers like Mahindra e20, e20 plus and E Verito will take 60 to 90 minutes to charge using a DC Fast charging unit and six hours using a AC slow charging station. Reva can be fully charged at an AC slow charging station in six hours. It has to be modified according to protocol of electric vehicles to be charged at a DC
fast charging station.

HOW LONG DOES A CHARGE LAST?

Chandrakant Shukre, retired scientist, has been driving a Reva for four years.
"Petrol costs for me would come to about Rs 3,000 a month, but I only spend about Rs 600 to charge up this car."
Many factors determine how long the charge lasts. "It depends on the number of passengers and the use of the AC and lights. On hot days, when we switch
on the AC, it drains out the battery faster," he says.
He welcomes the idea of charging stations across the city, saying they can encourage users to use their vehicles to their full potential.

Cost of it

10 Lakh is cost of a DC fast charging station
6Lakh is the cost of a charging unit.

How much?

The charging station proposes to collect Rs 5 a unit. It takes 16 units to charge a Mahindra e20, e20 plus and E Verito.

Bengaluru prices:

Mahindra e20: Rs 8.11 lakh to Rs 8.99 lakh
Mahindra E Verito: Rs 9.50 lakh to 9.75 lakh

Quote:

"The use of electric vehicles can increase only with a change in behaviour and consumption patterns. Awareness, sensitisation, and lowering the cost of ownership
should lead to this," Dr Ashish Verma, Associate professor of transportation engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, IISc

Plans ahead

"As the number of electric vehicles increases, the number of stations also must," C K Sreekanth, Deputy General Manager, Bescom.

 

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