More electric vehicles, fewer charging stations

Bangalore City Environment Technology

While there is an increase in demand for charging stations in the city, the supply continues to remain low.

Bengaluru: As diesel and petrol prices continue to rise, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company’s (BESCOM) public electric vehicle charging stations slowly saw a rise in number of users.

The January 2021 sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India surged by six percent from previous month’s sales to register 15,910 units according to a report by JMK Research and Analytics. The sales in Karnataka saw a rise of 10 percent from previous months, which means an additional 1,591 EVs were registered.

Currently there are only 70 charging stations for approximately 17,000 electric vehicles according to the transport department. It becomes difficult for consumers to find a charging station in a few areas of the city.

Abhilash, an E-taxi driver for the taxi company EEE-Taxi said, “There have been so many days when I couldn’t find a charging station nearby. I have been stranded in the middle of the road, have had to call the car company, and wait for them to come with a replacement vehicle and tow the uncharged one.”

In 2020, a budget of Rs. 4 crores was allocated by the government of Karnataka to create a skeletal network of charging stations in Bangalore. BESCOM has, so far, managed to install 136 charging units at 70 locations, said C.K.Sreenath, deputy general manager of Smart Grid and Electric Vehicles, BESCOM. “We have decided to add 140 charging stations, out of which National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will install 103 and the remaining 37 will be installed by Rajasthan Electronic and Thermal Limited. The implementation is expected to be completed within five to six months,” he added.
Lack of information about charging stations makes it more difficult for electric vehicle users. Credits: Author

Sreenath believes that this step would help consumers navigate to the charging station easily and help boost the city’s electric mobility.

Sandeep Anirudhan, an environmentalist and a mobility expert, thinks that the government’s initiative to add more charging stations is a great step towards becoming environmentally friendly. “An increase in electric vehicles means a decrease in city’s pollution levels,” he said.