Andhra Pradesh

Andhra govt. paving the road for e-vehicles

Photo for representation. (Credit: Nagara Gopal)  

Electric vehicles are affordable, efficient and clean for the environment and the government is eager to switch to this viable and eco-friendly alternative to carbon-emitting vehicular fuel such as petrol and diesel.

“We are looking at retrofitting models. The idea is to convert the existing three-wheelers (auto-rickshaws) into e-rickshaws as part of promoting eco-friendly mode of transport in the State,” S. Ramana Reddy, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP), told The Hindu on Wednesday. NREDCAP is the State nodal agency for all renewable programmes and electric mobility.

The corporation intends to implement the pilot project in Vijayawada, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam, which have been identified as three of the five non-attainable cities in the State that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Alarming air pollution was one of the major challenges faced by the mobility sector, pointed out Mr. Reddy, explaining that the retrofits to the existing conventional fuel driven three-wheelers was the least cost solution. "The estimated cost of retrofit is ₹ 60,000," he said.

Battery banks

But the vehicle owner would not invest anything on the battery (estimated cost ₹ 90,000) as the State proposes to establish battery banks on the lines of petrol bunks where one can swap their used battery with a full one without wasting any time. The practice is in vogue in cities like Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Mr. Reddy said the corporation would give these e-vehicles to three or four persons in each of the three cities free of cost to operate for a couple of months for a real-time feedback that would make modifications wherever needed before zeroing in on the final design of the vehicle and going ahead with mass scale conversion. “Once the final design emerges, each city will be given 1,000 e-vehicles," he said.

In the two-wheeler sector, the NREDCAP found a donor in Hero Electrics which offered four e-scooters for demo purpose. These electric vehicles have been given to the village secretariat volunteers in Pulivendula in Kadapa district. “The corporation is also approaching other two-wheeler manufacturers seeking their support. These volunteers are multi-taskers, constantly on the move to reach out to beneficiaries of government schemes or the general public. Based on their feedback on the vehicles, we will approach the government for subsidy on the vehicles that will solve both fuel and pollution problems," he said.

Charging stations

Andhra Pradesh has been sanctioned 115 charging stations and most of them would be established in 'non-attainable' cities. "We have discussed the issue with power distribution companies to set up the charging points close to the existing sub-stations so we can draw the power without incurring additional charges," he said.

Mr. Reddy exuded confidence that once the charging infrastructure was ready, people would be interested in buying e-vehicles.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 7:01:38 AM |

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