E-vehicles: Govt pushing escoms for charging stations

E-vehicles: Govt pushing escoms for charging stations

REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINTS: An electric charging station at the head office of Karntaka Energy Regulatory Commission office in Bengaluru. DH File Photo

The state government is pushing electricity supply companies (Escoms) to set up charging stations so as to meet its target of rolling out 1,000 electric vehicles before the end of this fiscal under a new scheme.

The government has earmarked Rs 30 crore under the e-Airavata scheme, a spin-off of the Airavata scheme that aims to create a fleet of 4,500 cabs to help create jobs for as many SC/ST beneficiaries at a cost of Rs 225 crore.

Under e-Airavata, the government will identify SC/ST beneficiaries and bear the cost of giving them e-rickshaws to support their livelihood. This will also be tied to existing schemes where the government has partnered with the likes of Swiggy and BigBasket, and beneficiaries who get employed with such companies will be given electric vehicles.

“We’ve been talking to Bescom, Gescom and Hescom to get them to instal charging points. Charging electric vehicles will take half-a-day,” Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge, who is anchoring the e-Airavata scheme, told DH.

The e-Airavata scheme was conceptualised in December in response to the ban on new autorickshaw registrations. “Electric is the way to go forward. Also, Karnataka has its own Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy. So, we decided to give a push from our department. We will give out e-rickshaws and are ready to also give out other electric vehicles,” Kharge said.

The minister is holding talks with several departments to roll out e-Airavata soon. His department has asked the Transport department to issue 5,000 licences for e-rickshaws.

“In Bengaluru, we can have e-rickshaws to collect garbage. Two rounds of talks have
been held with the BBMP on this. But all this depends on public charging points. Bescom has said 80 charging points are coming up in the city,” he said.

In 2017, Karnataka unveiled its first electric vehicle. This was on the back of the Nitin Gadkari-led Transport ministry’s aim to transform India into an all-electric vehicle market by 2030.

The Centre has also announced a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), which targets 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year-on-year from 2020 onward.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has set aside Rs 4 crore to install 100 charging stations in Bengaluru.