The Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology (ANERT) has plans to equip Kerala with an electric vehicle charging station every 50 km or 25 stations in each district and to switch the entire network of stations within a year to solar power as the State’s e-mobility projects move forward.
The agency had firmed up plans to rope in private investors to set up charging stations along the State’s road network, with priority being given to national highways and M.C. Road, said ANERT sources on Monday.
They said private persons with a suitable piece of land for a charging station could come forward, and ANERT would help provide the equipment and technical backup. In other cases, if an investor is willing to put in money for setting up a charging station, ANERT will help find a suitable location for the station.
Agency sources said electric vehicles were expected to catch up in a big way within a couple of years and charging stations would be good investments as more people shifted from conventional to electric vehicles. ANERT has now completed 135 site surveys across the State for setting up charging stations.
ANERT with support from Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), an agency under the Union Ministry of Power, commissioned an electric vehicle charging station in Kochi on Sunday, where cars are now being allowed to recharge free of cost for three months. The facility will be officially inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in November.
ANERT’s initial plan is to set up a charging station in each district, with Thiruvananthapuram having three stations as part of the e-mobility programme in which government departments will not be allowed to hire non-electric vehicles on long-term rent from next April.
By the end of March, the agency expects to supply 300 vehicles to various government departments, including local bodies, and to raise the number of e-vehicle supply to a thousand by next year. One of the key reasons for people’s reluctance to go in for electric vehicles was the lack of sufficient charging stations, said an ANERT official.
ANERT will buy the electric vehicles through EESL and enter into a contract with the respective government department, which needs vehicles on rent. The rentals rates are different based on the vehicle models, but ANERT bears the cost of insurance and maintenance.