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How busy are the EV charging stations in CBD?

The year that just ended saw a record rise in EV numbers. Metrolife visits four charging stations to see how they are faring.
Last Updated 11 January 2024, 22:00 IST

How is Bengaluru gearing up to the challenge of having more electric vehicles (EVs) on its roads?
In 2023, roughly 61,500 EVs were registered in Bengaluru, according to the Union government’s Vahan dashboard. 

M Mathapati, deputy general manager, EV cell, Bescom, believes the state will rise to the No 1 slot (in the number of EV charging stations in the country) after the union government’s EV Yatra app is updated (see box). “We currently have 3,823 private and government-run charging stations in Karnataka,” he said. Bengaluru alone has around 320 stations, of which 195 are run by Bescom. Each station has two or three ports of different capacities (50kw, 30kw, 15kw and so on), he added. The higher the wattage, the faster the battery gets charged. The cost ranges from Rs 6 to
Rs 7 a unit at the Bescom stations.

Bescom is currently working on adding more stations, the biggest of which is coming up at the Kempegowda International Airport. The hub will have 10 ports (five 50kw, four 15kw, and one 3.3kw) and will likely open at the end of March. 

Metrolife visited four EV charging stations within a 4 km radius of M G Road.

K R Circle

Located at the Bescom headquarters in Cubbon Park, the station has five charging ports set up by Bescom, all of which are functional. Two private ports, by Ather Bikes, are disconnected. Of all the stations Metrolife visited, this was the busiest. 

On an average, 30 EVs visit the station daily, according to an attendant. Most are cabbies. Aravind Naidu, who owns a Hyundai Kona, leaves his car to charge at the station when he attends meetings in the vicinity. “Sometimes I don’t charge it at home because of power cuts or it slips my mind. So this is convenient,” he said.

Entrepreneur Najum Udeen, who drives to Bengaluru from Kerala in his SUV once a month, said Bengaluru was better equipped than Mysuru and cities in Kerala, which fall on his route. 

Kanikeraj recently bought an electric rickshaw on the advice of a friend. He prefers the K R Circle station as it is well equipped. His second preference is the Bescom station in Byatarayanapura.

“One station I used to visit has been under repair for two weeks,” he said. At another station, the charging slots are taken up by parked cars, he said. “The owners refuse to move their cars. They do not understand that they have parked at a spot meant for charging EVs,” he told Metrolife.

Shivajinagar

The charging port is located at the BMTC bus depot in Shivajinagar. The station has one AC port, with three charging points. The port was not functional when Metrolife visited the depot on Thursday. An attendant said it was “disconnected” and had been non-functional for two weeks. 

Shantinagar

The Shantinagar Traffic and Transit Management Centre houses two AC ports. Both are working but no vehicle was using them. The charging spots, however, were used for parking. 

M G Road

The Bescom M G Road sub division office, opposite Mayo Hall, has two AC charging ports. An autorickshaw was being charged at one, and the other point was free.

Bengaluru No 3

EV sales in the country grew by 49.25% last year, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association (FADA).

The EV Yatra app, developed by the Union government, places Karnataka third highest in the number of EV charging stations. It could soon be ranked No 1, a top official told Metrolife.

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(Published 11 January 2024, 22:00 IST)

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