Bengaluru has the highest number of electric vehicles in India, but owners say charging ports are still not easy to come by.
Bescom has set up 136 ports at 74 locations in the city.
They work from 6 am to 10 pm, and but many vehicle owners are not aware of the service.
Amit Surana, driving an electric car since March, lives in Brigade Panorama, Anchepalya. The apartment complex has only two electric vehicles.
“We approached the apartment committee with a proposal for charging ports, and they said they wanted the vehicle numbers to increase,” he says. He expects them to come up with an arrangement in three or four months.
Surana owns a Tata Nexon and the company has set up a port at his parking slot by drawing a line from the meter dedicated to his flat. “I charge my car once every three days,” he says. A Nexon owners’ club is active on Twitter.
Since fuel prices are rising, many Bengalureans are considering switching to electric vehicles.
Owning an electric vehicle has many advantages, even if the initial cost is higher, say those who use them.
Most apartment committees, like the one at VBHC Palm Haven in Kengeri, are waiting and watching. “We want 10 to 15 vehicles before we invest in multiple charging ports,” says Mohan Kumar, secretary of the residents’ association.
Setting up a charging port costs Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 and a basic charging station costs upwards of Rs 70,000, says Prashanth Nandiprasad, architect, Etagi Designs Collaboration.
But it isn’t as difficult as it seems, either. Installing a charging port does not require any architectural change, says Prashanth. “The biggest question is where to draw the wire from,” he says.
The committee can either draw the wire from the car owner’s line or from a common area.
“The latter gives rise to questions about why non-owners must share the cost,” he says. At the moment, drawing the line from the meter of the car owner’s apartment makes more sense, he says.
Owners of electric vehicles living in individual homes are getting ports installed, and they face no hassles.
Anil Kumar Gopinath, president, Platinum City Residents Forum, says a hurdle is that Bescom regulations are not clear.
Suresh Hari, chairman of the Bengaluru chapter of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India, says electric vehicle owners and resident welfare associations don’t see eye to eye.
“Citizens are not ready to self-manage charging and associations are not prepared to provide charging ports until the number of EVs is higher,” he observes.
“The charger model AC001 can charge three vehicles at a time while the DC001 can charge only one at a time,” says a Bescom official. A two-wheeler takes three to four hours to charge, and the service comes for about Rs 24 (tariff is lower by about Rs 2 if you choose slower charging).
Bengaluru has 1,486 electric two-wheelers, 29 three-wheelers and 471 four-wheelers, according to the RTO.
You can locate Bescom electronic charging stations by using the app EV Mithra, available for Android and iOS.