As petrol prices keep rising, the Kerala government is steadfast in implementing its e-vehicle policy as at least 100 electric charging stations will be opened for the public across the state by the end of December, Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty said.
Elaborating on the steps taken to effectively implement the e-vehicle policy of the Left government, Krishnankutty said ten new pillar charging stations have been installed by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in Kozhikode city for the public where they can scan and pay the money using mobile phone.
Krishnankutty told PTI that the KSEB has also issued an order to hire only electric vehicles for its official purposes and ANERT has already handed over 30 electric vehicles to various government departments of the state.
Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) is a state government agency which is already operating multiple charging stations across Kerala.
"We will open 100 charging stations across Kerala by the end of December. KSEB has erected pillar charging stations near the auto stands in Kozhikode at ten locations in the city. The payment can be made through a mobile app and self-charge the vehicles. In the same station, two wheelers can also be charged," the minister said.
Kozhikode city has the most number of e-autorickshaws prompting the Electricity Board to take up its pilot project of charging pillars in the city.
The pillar charging station requires very less space, similar to an electricity pole, and if found effective, it would revolutionise the e-vehicle scenario in the state. KSEB plans to expand it beyond the Kozhikode city soon.
A higher official of KSEB said Rs 15 per unit will be charged from the customer whereas in other states, the rates go up to Rs 22 per unit. Currently, KSEB has six charging stations in the state.
"KSEB has already opened six charging stations while 36 more will come up very soon. ANERT will open 20 more in this financial year," the official said.
By understanding the need of charging stations in order promote the use of e-vehicles, KSEB has also decided to allow private entrepreneurs to operate the same.
"If a private person is installing a charging station, he needs to give KSEB Rs 5 per unit. However, for the public, the charge is Rs 15 per unit. In some other states, the private players are charging Rs 22 per unit," the official said.
Initially, the charging stations of KSEB was free for customers.
"We need to encourage the use of electric vehicles in the state. These days the petrol and diesel prices are going up every day. The rising fuel price actually derails the family budget. When a family has to spend Rs 500 for fuel, electric vehicles will cost you only Rs 50," minister said.
Petrol price for the third straight day was hiked by 25 paise a litre and diesel by 30 paise, on Sunday, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. In eight price increases since September 24, diesel rates have gone up by 2.15 paise per litre. Petrol price has increased by Rs 1.25 per litre in five instalments this week. Prices differ from state to state depending on the incidence of local taxes.
Krishnankutty said ANERT has already provided 30 electric vehicles to various government departments for lease as part of the Left government's Carbon Neutral Governance programme.
"At least 20 more vehicles will be provided by November," he said.
The KSEB has already decided to scrap its own old vehicles plying for its official purposes and replace it with EVs in a phased manner. An order was issued in September last to hire only electric vehicles on contract for the KSEB.
"... the meeting resolved to accord sanction to float tender for hiring of 200 Electric Vehicles for the officers of KSEBL from executive engineers and above in the first phase and 1,000 Nos of special purpose vehicles with the specifications (as per annexure) for the section offices and other field offices in the second phase," the order issued on September 22 read.
As per the e-vehicle policy of the state government, the KSRTC, the state-run road transport corporation has plans for transition of its entire fleet of over 6,000 buses to electric vehicles by 2025. There are electric charging stations inside major KSRTC bus depots.
The state government is also gearing up to increase the adoption of electric vehicles for its fleet of official vehicles. KSEB plans to work with the state government to set up charging stations in all district headquarters as well as other large government offices.
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