Govt pushes for electric vehicles, but no infra in place in Noida to support it | noida | Hindustan Times
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Govt pushes for electric vehicles, but no infra in place in Noida to support it

The high cost of purchase and recurrent expenditure are a deterrent for drivers

noida Updated: Mar 16, 2018 22:43 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times
While there is no official count, the transport department estimates that 6,000-7,000 unregistered e-rickshaws are plying in Noida.**Photo received on March 16, 2018. (Please check with Charmaine Edwards for details)
While there is no official count, the transport department estimates that 6,000-7,000 unregistered e-rickshaws are plying in Noida.**Photo received on March 16, 2018. (Please check with Charmaine Edwards for details)

While the government is pushing for switch to electric vehicles, public infrastructure as well as policy guidelines related to electric vehicles (EVs) are missing in the city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had distributed 1000 e-rickshaws in Noida in April 2016, hoping to provide momentum to the electric mobility drive.

In the past two years, the number of registered e-rickshaws in the city has remained stagnant. While the Union government plans to shift its entire motor vehicle fleet to electricity by 2030, the industry environment seems unfriendly.

According to officials, there are multiple reasons for the slow growth of electric vehicles in the city. Seizing unregistered electric rickshaws is necessary, yet it may discourage others from purchasing them.

“We have no option but to seize these illegal vehicles. They cannot be fined for irregularities and, in case of a mishap, no government help or insurance can be provided. However, it cannot be denied that it does affect the livelihood of poor drivers,” S K Singh, assistant regional transport officer (ARTO), enforcement, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.

The high cost of initial purchase and recurrent expenditure may also be a deterrent for drivers. This is also the reason for drivers opting for unauthorised vehicles. While the e-rickshaws sold by authorised dealers cost ₹1.25 lakh, the unauthorised dealers sell these vehicles for ₹60,000 to ₹70,000. The permit and tax cost an additional ₹8,000, transport officials said.

Even for the authorised e-rickshaw drivers, there are no docking/charging stations as no policy provides for the same. In the absence of such infrastructure, drivers charge their vehicles at home, spending a large amount of domestic power. However, officials claim that most e-rickshaws are charged through illegal power connections, another irregularity.

“There are no public docking stations as no policy mentions having them. We are also not planning any such infrastructure soon. As EVs increase, these may be installed,” A K Pandey, ARTO (administration), Gautam Budh Nagar, said.

Transport experts said for an electric mobility revolution in the country, the thrust has to begin on public transport, including e-rickshaws and buses. For successful implementation, required infrastructure and subsidies have to be provided by the government.

Experts say drivers would rather buy cycle rickshaws that cost much less, have no registration legalities and carry passengers for distances the same as e-rickshaws.

“Cycle rickshaws are used for small distances; autos and buses for longer distance. E-rickshaws are for small- to medium-distance travel. However, commuters prefer cycle rickshaws as, for the same cost, they do not have to share their transport. Even from a commuters’ point of view, the demand for e-rickshaws is not high,” Dr Sewa Ram, professor, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, said.

He said unlike Delhi, Noida has fewer middle distance trips. “In Noida, there are short and long distances and commuters prefer cycyle rickshaws for short trips and autorickshaws for longer distances. Therefore, e-rickshaw drivers do not get enough passengers. That is why they do not find it profitable to invest in these expensive vehicles till subsidies are provided,” Sewa Ram said.