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112 EV charging stations ready for rollout

112 EV charging stations ready for rollout


By December, the city is likely to have 112 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, including 12 fast charging outlets. The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has missed its August 2019 deadline, but sources said that they are confident that all 112 stations will be up and running by the first week of next month.

“Installation and testing have been completed for the 12 fast charging stations. Though the stations are ready, we are waiting for the code of conduct to end to inaugurate them,” said a senior Bescom official.

Code of conduct apart, the delay is also attributed to problems in finding ideal locations for the 100 regular charging stations across the city. “The idea was to have them every 5 km. However, we found it difficult to find suitable locations. It was then decided to set up most of the 100 stations on government-owned premises, such as Bescom offices, parking spaces in Traffic and Transit Management Centres, and complexes owned by the BDA and the BBMP” the official said. The other reason for the delay is the time taken for testing. “We needed to make sure there is proper network connectivity and seamless communication between the charger and server. In some places, owing to the presence of jammers, we continue to encounter network issues. We are working on overcoming the same,” the Bescom official said.

According to another Bescom official, the power utility is in the process of developing a mobile application to help users locate charging stations and make payments. Through the app, citizens can locate the charging stations that have been geotagged, navigate to the nearest charger, book a slot, as well as access details such as availability of parking in the area and public amenities. It is likely to be launched by December when the charging stations are inaugurated.

The city already has public charging stations in the Bescom corporate office, office of the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Vidhana Soudha and the Vikasa Soudha. The facility in Bescom’s corporate office is open for public. “We are not charging users currently. While KERC has fixed the rate for charging EV at ₹5 a unit, Bescom is yet to finalise the cost to the user. A proposal has already been sent and the State government is yet to take a call. “With these additional charging stations, the nearly 10,000 EV users in the city will not have to worry about their vehicles running out of charge,” said the Bescom official.

Lack of infrastructure
Motorists, meanwhile, are unhappy with the lack of proper infrastructure, which they say deters people from switching to cleaner modes of transport.

Without proper infrastructure, the Centre’s aim of becoming a 100% EV nation by 2030 will remain on paper.

According to Prem Mani, who has been using an EV for more than a decade, the State government has failed to reach out to other users for planning infrastructure. “Having used EV for so long, we know the problems and are thus most experienced to give inputs,” he said.

Businessman Zarryl Lobo, who has been using EV for nearly two decades, believes that the authorities should take into account population density. “The government should have also conducted a survey to ascertain how many are willing to switch to electric vehicles and plan accordingly,” he said.

However, officials in the Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), which is setting up EV charging stations across the city, said the locations of the stations had been planned after several rounds of detailed discussions. “We have also ensured that the locations are easily accessible to the public. Many have been chosen based on their proximity to IT parks and highways. This is in anticipation of vehicles travelling long distances,” an official said.

With the gap in EV infrastructure, the users have formed an informal group. “This group has over 200 EV users, a majority of whom are in Bengaluru. We support each other in times of need, such as when the vehicles run out of charge or when they run into some mechanical troubles,” said Mr. Mani.

EV cluster to be set up
The State government has decided to establish an electric vehicle (EV) cluster as well as push for initiatives for EV enhancement, research and innovation.

According to sources in the Department of Commerce and Industry, the cluster is likely to come up on 600 acres of land, but it is yet to be finalised. “With the highest concentration of EV in Bengaluru, it is likely to be near the city’s outskirts,” said sources.

The EV cluster, which will have a world class ecosystem, will have a logistics park, testing tracks, and other facilities.

Sources said the government had also set up four technical committees for innovation, skill development, common testing, and cluster formation. The government order for setting up these committees was issued in June and includes industry EV leaders and members of various research institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Science.

“Three or four consultative meetings have already been held by these committees,” the source said, adding that the EV cluster is being developed as a model that can be replicated in other parts of the State. Bescom is the nodal agency for setting up EV infrastructure across the State.

The government has also taken other initiatives for EV enhancement, including getting the Urban Development Department to amend the building bylaws of all urban local bodies to make it mandatory to reserve 20% of parking space in future buildings. A proposal with regard to transitioning 50% of government vehicles to EV has also been sent to the government.

Source: thehindu
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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