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Kochi set to lead State’s charge towards electric vehicles
With talks of conventional fuel standards being upgraded from BS4 to BS6, electric vehicles may appear a dot on the horizon. But Kerala’s charge towards having a million electric vehicles by 2022, it appears, will be led by Kochi, which will have the earliest of the State’s public electric charging stations soon thanks to efforts by public sector oil marketing companies. It is expected that 15 electric charging stations will be functional across the State shortly. The first three of the stations will be in and around Kochi, industry sources said on Thursday. Fourteen of the 15 charging stations will be launched by Bharat Petroleum Corporation, which will offer the facilities initially at petroleum outlets near InfoPark, Edappally, and the Kerala High Court. Indian Oil Corporation has finalised plans to have a charging facility near Edappally, it is learnt. Electric charging stations at Chalakudy, Kodungalloor, Thriprayar, Kombidi, Panancheri, Kolaazhi, Chevoor, Choondal, and Vaniyampara in Thrissur district are also expected to be functional soon. One of the major considerations of electric vehicle vendors has been the lack of charging facilities. “There is an air of uncertainty and lack of clarity on the issue of electric vehicles,” said a major vendor, who has lined substantial number of vehicles for the Kerala market. While States like Karnataka has written off registration charges on electric vehicles, Kerala has come out with 50% concession for electric autorickshaws and 25% concession on private electric vehicles. The longevity of batteries is also a matter of concern. However, the issue will be addressed along the way. While the present range is between 100 km to 120 km, it is expected that batteries will last up to over 350 km over the next year or two. Charging stations will cater to both swapping batteries and direct charging of vehicles, while safety considerations will be among the issues to be addressed when electric charging facilities are established at conventional fuel outlets, said R. Venugopal, deputy chief controller of explosives. Electric charging facilities will have to be installed at least six metres away from fuel vending machines. The charging facilities must have locks to ensure that there is no accidental disconnection as the charging is done at 150 to 450 volts. The facilities will also have to depend on an independent power supply line.