Karnataka has launched a unique electric vehicle (EV) battery swapping network in its capital Bengaluru, addressing one of the key concerns of potential users of the cleaner technology - fast discharge and lack of supporting infrastructure.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa inaugurated the city's first EV battery swapping network on Tuesday. To encourage the use of electric vehicles, he also took a ride in the indigenously developed e-autorickshaw driven by Kokila Rajesh.
"We are launching Sun Mobility Battery Swapping Network for electric vehicles in Bengaluru. This e-autorickshaw, which was developed in the city, will help reduce pollution. The government will give a subsidy of Rs 42,000 on its cost," Mr Yediyurappa said.
He added that once people like the e-vehicles, they will start using them.
The EV battery-swapping project is meant to ensure clean last-mile connectivity for Bengaluru.
"A full battery allows each e-vehicle to run for 80km. The battery swapping stations will enable e-vehicles to run for a longer period of time as you can just swap the discharged battery in 2 minutes and travel another 80km. We plan to create 100 battery swapping stations and this infrastructure is going to be spread across the city," Sandeep Maini, the Director of Sun Mobility, said.
We want Bangalore to lead the EV revolution, starting with three-wheelers, then two-wheelers and other vehicles of shared mobility options, Mr Maini added.
Talking to NDTV, auto driver Ms Kokila said she likes the electric vehicle. She added that it was easy to drive and would allow women to reclaim their economic independence.
"I am very happy about this launch. This e-autorickshaw has no clutch or gear, is easy to drive and makes no noise; it will not disturb the public at all. We don't need to use petrol, and don't need to wait for the battery to get charged either," she said.
She also urged other women to come out and "occupy a bigger space in the society". "Life has become difficult for many because of coronavirus pandemic. This e-auto gives women an opportunity to reclaim their independence," she said.
Karnataka was the first state in the country to introduce an EV policy to reduce pollution.