Private Firms Chip In To Build Infrastructure For E Vehicles In Bengaluru

April 08,2019

The shortage of public charging station in Bengaluru has been the main reason for low growth of EVs in the city. The move by Bengaluru transport department to scrap its proposal to set up 100 charging stations and Bescom failure to scale up the number of private companies have not helped the city either.

Bengaluru is home to only 8,980 electric vehicles, including 4,734 cars, 3,887 2-wheelers and 359 auto-rickshaws. This is a meagre number compared to the 80.5 lakh registered vehicles in Bengaluru. In fact, Karnataka has 15,628 e-vehicles, of which Bengaluru accounts for 57%.

E-vehicles are 40% costlier than conventional ones. Also, they run for around 100km once fully charged and hence, there’s a fear of them running out of charge due to shortage of stations. This is one of the reasons why most motorists are not shifting to electric vehicles despite spiralling fuel costs and pollution.

Ather Energy, a startup which manufactures electric two-wheelers, has set up 31 charging points at 24 locations. All electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers with a charging cable can use the facility for free till September 2019. Charging points are located at malls, gyms, cafes and tech parks among other places and are available, on an average, at every 4km and the company’s charging network can be accessed through the AtherGrid app.

Similarly about 300 private charging stations have been set up by firms like Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd, Lithium Urban Technologies and Baghirathi, mainly at tech parks.

Bescom has managed to set up only four public charging stations till now, that too in government office premises: Bescom KR Circle corporate office, KERC office, Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha. Though the facility is free, response from EV owners has been lukewarm. Bescom promises stn at every 5km by Aug and are planning to install 112 public charging stations across the city — Metro stations, BMTC bus terminals and BBMP offices — by August first week.

An online petition initiated by NGO, ‘Induct electric buses in Bengaluru and phase out BS II and BS III buses’, on the website has received about 1,000 signatures till now and is expected to grow further.
It urges BMTC to convert all its diesel buses to electric to reduce environmental pollution. It may be recalled that BMTC recently lost the Centre’s subsidy, amounting to Rs 74.8 crore, for deploying electric buses.

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Author - Mastan Basha