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Kochi: Demand goes up for electric vehicles, but charging points inadequate

KOCHI: Despite surge in number of people switching to electric vehicles, the city has very less number of charging stations to cater to the demand. As many as 104 electric vehicles were registered at six major transport offices in the district in 2020 as against 63 in 2019.

 The highest number of electric vehicle registration was reported at Ernakulam RTO office with 50 vehicles in 2020 as against 34 the previous year. Though electric vehicles of various brands have started to hit showrooms, stakeholders feel lack of charging stations plays spoilsport.

“Electric three-wheelers and cars are available in four brands in the state. Two-wheelers in more than five brands are also available and many are waiting to hit the roads. City needs more charging stations to lure people to buy electric vehicles. Government aims to make 25% of vehicles electric ones by 2025. Charging stations should be set up at various points to materialize this vision of the government. The government should also introduce a scrapping policy to make manufacturers take back the battery of Lithium – ion, which will become a major solid waste requiring attention. Government is also sceptical about increasing the number of electric vehicles at once as disposing the battery safely in case of a snag if not easy. There is a threat involved,” said Manoj Kurup, Secretary of Kerala Automobile Dealers Association (KADA).

 Meanwhile, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has installed a charging station in Palarivattom. “Many private parties are also setting up charging stations after taking commercial connection from the KSEB. In Kozhikode alone, there are 27 such private charging stations and many are coming up in Ernakulam too. The tender for installing KSEB’s second charging station in Ernakulam will be floated soon,” said a KSEB official.

 While welcoming the rising demand for electric vehicles, transport experts feel that priority should be for public transport. “One can replace a diesel vehicle with an electric one as one of the solutions to reduce green gas emission. But it is not necessarily the best solution in top priority for India. Our biggest priority is to get people into public transport mode, since Indian roads are already getting congested. Whether you ride a diesel vehicle or electric one, the congestion will continue to remain even if air pollution comes down. The Indian urban problem is more to do with congestion. So we need to ensure people move to the mass transport system,” said Daniel Robinson, an independent transport adviser.

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