Electric vehicles fail to catch Chandigarh residents’ fancy

Courtesy high cost, lack of infra in UT

Electric vehicles fail to catch Chandigarh residents’ fancy

A PGI engineer shows an electric vehicle-charging station in the parking area of Nehru Hospital Extension on Tuesday.

Dushyant Singh Pundir

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27

Designed to reduce greenhouse gas emission, the demand for plug-in electric vehicles for personal use is yet to pick up in the city due to lack of charging stations and a high cost of such vehicles.

According to the data available with the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA), there is no aggressive demand for electric vehicles in the city. In the year 2018, only three electric four-wheelers were registered with the RLA and the figure slightly increased to seven in 2019. With creation of awareness among the masses, the demand for such vehicles jumped five times in 2020 and this year, only 37 cars have been registered in the city so far.

Rising fuel prices notwithstanding, city residents have given thumbs down to electric vehicles.

Mostly, interstate travellers don’t trust electric vehicles due to inadequate charging infrastructure along the roadside.

While the UT Administration has waived road tax on the electric vehicles, these still fail to attract buyers due to a high price. Also, there are expectations of a better technology to be developed in the near future.

The UT Administration has also proposed a policy to give more incentives to city residents to encourage them to buy electric vehicles.

An official of the Transport Department, UT, said the main reasons for the poor sale of pollution-free electric vehicles were the lack of affordable options and infrastructure. He, however, said the demand would surely go up once these two issues were resolved.

In reply to a question raised in the Lok Sabha, Krishan Pal Gurjar, Minister of State for Heavy Industries stated that 48 charging stations had been installed in Chandigarh till July 6 this year, under the Phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Scheme and sale of a total of 48 electric vehicles (e-2W, e-3W and e-4W) were supported with incentive under the scheme in the UT.

The UT Administration has planned to purchase electric vehicles for its officials. UT Adviser Dharam Pal said they were contemplating to go for electric vehicles for officials in future. He said they would gradually improve the infrastructure to encourage the sale of electric vehicles in the city.

The UT will get a fleet of 40 electric buses in September. This will help improve the air quality in the city. The Transport Department has tied up with a private firm to operate electric buses in the city from September this year. In September last year, the Centre had sanctioned 80 electric buses for the UT under Phase-II of the FAME India scheme.

The Adviser said they would inaugurate one such electric bus in the city next week. The UT Administration plans to replace its entire fleet of ordinary buses of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) with electric buses. At present, the CTU has 514 buses — 361 run on local or suburban routes and 153 on interstate routes.

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