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Karnataka to launch its own electric autos in Bengaluru


In a bid to promote green energy, the government of Karnataka, through its transport department is gearing up to launch its own electric autos in Bengaluru city.

As part of the Karnataka Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy, 2017, the state department has decided to create its own version of electric autos, instead of the patented battery-operated rickshaws that aren’t permitted to run within city limits.

In September, the Karnataka government had approved Electric vehicle policy and became the first Indian state to do so to push the ‘Make In Karnataka’ initiative. The new policy aims to attract investments worth Rs 31,000 crore and create around 55,000 employment opportunities.

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki seeks govt incentives to make Electric Vehicles affordable

According to officials, the electric vehicles to be promoted in Karnataka require retrofitting batteries to the existing autorickshaw models. Moreover, the usual electric rickshaws are actually converted from cycle-rickshaws and they neither reach a speed of over 25 kmph nor are stable on the road. Drivers who wish to opt for retrofitting would be supported by the department and the state.

Beside electric autos, the department is also working on introducing electric buses through BMTC and KSRTC. They are likely to be operated on inter-city routes — from Bengaluru to Tumakuru, Hassan and Kolar.

India is inching towards becoming the third largest automobile market by 2020. The union government has also unveiled its vision to make the country an all-electric vehicle market by 2031 to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and reduce its carbon footprint.

Also Read: Why electric vehicles will be disastrous for Indian economy, explains Mercedes-Benz India MD Roland Folger

Currently, less than 1% of the 200 million vehicles on Indian roads are estimated to be electric vehicles. As per industry data, electric car sales in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets, are negligible compared with annual sales of over 3 million petrol and diesel cars last fiscal year.

EESL, a joint-venture comprising four government-owned power sector entities — NTPC, Power Grid, Power Finance Corp and Rural Electrification Corporation, floated two global tender in the past months for such numbers of e-vehicles as part of a plan to replace the five-lakh petrol and diesel cars used by the government and its agencies over a 3-4 year period.

Meanwhile, Hero Electric, the electric vehicles division of Hero MotoCorp, is planning to set up multiple assembly plants to meet its target of increasing sales by ten-fold in the next five years.

Hero Electric Managing Director Naveen Munjal said that the company will foray into e-rickshaw business because of the logistics cost involved in that. While in some cases a facility could be used for both two-wheelers and three-wheelers but in some cases it may be just a standalone three-wheeler production units.

The above report was first published in ET.

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