New-gen rickshaws run out of fuel in Kozhikode

An electric autorickshaw waiting in line for passengers in Kozhikode city.   | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Those who purchased electric, CNG and LPG variants of autorickshaws expecting better field support from the government for zero emission are in deep crisis owing to shortage of electric charging and fuel filling stations. Nearly 150 electric autorickshaws and over 200 LPG/CNG variants are part of the ailing system.

Despite proposals to set up 10 electric charging stations in the public sector to promote e-rickshaws, they are yet to be functional in the city. A charging station which was earlier set up with the support of the KSEB at Nallalam is open only to other electric vehicles. The situation is similar in rural areas too, where around 100 e-rickshaws are in operation. In the absence of charging stations in the public sector, e-rickshaw operators are incurring heavy losses as they are forced to depend on three private charging stations.

“It is not possible to operate long-distance services with home-charged batteries. Moreover, private charging stations collect ₹350 per vehicle,” said an operator who recently purchased an e-rickshaw. He added that the vehicle could cover only 130 km on a single charging.

LPG-powered autorickshaw operators in Kozhikode city are facing similar difficulty. There are just two LPG filling stations within the city limits, and operators are often forced to stop services owing to shortage of stock at the stations. Despite their demand to open more dispensing units, no favourable action has come distributors.

Balasubrahmanyan, who owns CNG-powered autorickshaws, said just one filling station was available for as many as 150 autorickshaws in the city. “Besides, many other commercial and private vehicles depend on the station. We need at least four pumps in different locations to avoid rush,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, fuel dealers said efforts were on to set up more LPG/CNG distribution units in two years after getting clearance from the authorities. Within a few months, one more CNG dispensing unit will be ready near the Sarovaram bio park, they added.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:52:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/new-gen-rickshaws-run-out-of-fuel-in-kozhikode/article36615781.ece

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