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EESL to set up 1,000 EV charging stations, hopes to deploy 5,000 cars

Firm was tasked with procuring 10,000 electric cars for govt use, but was able to deploy on 1,500 vehicles due to lack of charging stations.

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

Electric cars
Several countries are rolling out electric vehicle charging infrastructure

State-run Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), which was tasked with procuring 10,000 electric cars for government use, has said that it could procure and deploy only 1,500 cars largely because of the lack of charging stations. The company now plans to address this issue by setting up nearly 1,000 charging stations, and is confident of deploying around 5,000 cars for various government departments by next year.

EESL, a joint venture of state-owned firms under the power ministry, has finished the procurement process of 10,000 e-cars under the national e-mobility programme that was launched by the Centre in March 2018, although it hasn’t taken delivery or paid for the cars. That was to be done against demand from government departments to which these vehicles were to be provided on lease or on outright purchase, to replace their existing fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles.

S P Garnaik, chief general manager (technical) EESL, who was in Chennai to launch the Super-Efficient Air Conditioner Programme, said that till now the company has procured and deployed 1,500 cars. Poor demand for the vehicles stems from lack of charging infrastructure and the fact that there is no mandate from the Government that Departments must procure electric vehicles.

Garnaik ruled out any problems in the cars supplied by Tata and Mahindra, the two which bagged order to supply 10,000 vehicles.

EESL is planning to set up nearly 1,000 charging stations across the country and the Center has asked the Tamil Nadu government to come out with electric mobility adoption plans. "Both these will push the demand by next year, and we would deploy at least 5,000 EV cars across the country," he said.

As per the Letter of Award (LoA) issued in October 2017 (for 400 e-cars) and February 2018 (for 9,600 e-cars), the vehicles were to be supplied by November 2017 and January 2019 respectively. The cars cost Rs about Rs 10 lakh currently.

The government has been aggressively pushing for a switch to electric vehicles to curb pollution in cities and also to reduce India’s fuel import bill. The country, which is currently the world’s third-largest oil importer, aims to become a global manufacturing hub for EVs.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council reduced the tax rate on electric vehicles (EVs) to 5 per cent from 12 per cent.

The government's think tank NITI Aayog’s earlier proposed to ban production of conventional two-wheelers under 150cc by 2025 and three-wheelers by 2023.

While this has created lot of confusion and debate, later, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said the government has no specific deadline in mind for automakers to switch to electric mobility or ban production of petrol and diesel vehicles.

First Published: Tue, August 27 2019. 17:10 IST