Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Limited (SCTL) will open its charging stations at Gandhi Park to the public in an effort to promote e-mobility in the city. The charging stations were installed at Gandhi Park in conjunction with the city's introduction of e-autos and e-rickshaws.
The SCTL is in discussions with the private firm that installed the station about developing a mobile payment app. Additionally, at the charging station, UPI scanners will be installed. According to SCTL officials, rates will be determined in consultation with KSEB and the electricity regulatory commission. Apart from the financial gain, SCTL intends to promote e-mobility and address the issue of an insufficient number of charging stations for private e-vehicles.
Smart City CEO Vinay Goyal stated that the corporation intends to make it open to the general public. “The guidelines for the applicable rates are currently being discussed. We will release this very soon. Smart city aspires to expand its green footprint and bring the benefits of green energy to an increasing number of people,” he said.
Although e-rickshaws were originally intended to promote shared mobility schemes in cities, the plan was shelved due to the spread of Covid. Although the design was altered to ensure social segregation, it was suggested that during a pandemic, shared mobility should not be initiated via e-rickshaws.
Beneficiaries selected for the scheme received training and were instructed to operate the vehicles as normal passenger automobiles. Some beneficiaries expressed concern about the possibility of incurring electricity bills from charging at home, while others voiced dissatisfaction with the vehicle's power delivery.
SCTL installed a charging station at Gandhi Park and is covering the entire cost. Even then, some beneficiaries reportedly maintained their demand for e-autos rather than e-rickshaws, with four of them returning the vehicles.
SCTL purchased 15 e-rickshaws in 2020 at a cost of Rs. 2.30 lakh each. Individual beneficiaries of Smart city's e-mobility scheme are now using the charging stations. SCTL awarded the power zone the contract for the installation of three charging stations at a cost of Rs. 1.1 lakh per unit. Two charging stations were to be installed at Gandhi Park, with a third near the Museum. The electric vehicle chargers were procured in consultation with KSEB (renewable energy), and this was one of the state's first public charging stations.
Three vehicles could be charged concurrently, and one slot was reserved for maintenance. The idea was that beneficiaries could recharge their batteries during their daily service to ensure they had enough battery capacity to travel the entire day.
On average, it takes 1.5 units per hour to charge an automobile, which equates to about Rs. 15 per hour. According to the project note, the charger would be connected to the Corporation's upcoming integrated command and control centre. It will communicate critical information to the ICCC, such as the vehicle and driver that used the facility, the amount of charging performed, and payment made via digital mode.