Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): High cost of batteries and insufficient re-charging outlets in cities are the reasons for the auto rickshaw operators to continue with petrol or CNG run-three wheeler instead of switching over to EVs. The EV vehicles are being promoted to check air pollution in the city and bring down the Air Quality Index (AQI). Those operating petrol-run autos are showing interest to switch to CNG vehicle but not EV.
Regional Transport officials admitted that the state capital does not have the required number of Electric Vehicles battery re-charging stations, besides, the cost of the battery is also high and which makes it unaffordable for the auto operators.
Recently, housing and urban-rural development had issued a circular to all municipal commissioners, heads of other civic bodies for procuring EV-vehicles for garbage collection in Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration has also expressed its intention of now purchasing EVs for door-to-door garbage collection.
Adil Khan, president of auto-rickshaw operators association said, “We have to switch over to EVs but the problem is that battery cost is high and replacing it after 5 years of usage becomes unaffordable for many. So the better option for us currently is to continue with CNG.”
App-based taxi operators association president Ajaz Ali said, “ Auto rickshaw operators have to ply in outer areas and feeder roads and if they have to operate on outskirts running petrol vehicle becomes financially unviable. And also to operate in the city they will have to switch over to CNG or EVs to check pollution and traffic in urban areas.”
Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Sanjay Tiwari talking to Free Press said, “Currently all commercial vehicles of all three variants —petrol, CNG and EVs—are being operated in Bhopal. There are around 6,000 petrol-run auto rickshaws and 2000 are being operated on CNG, while EVs vehicles stand at the bottom. Two main problems with EVs are the high cost of batteries. After 5 years of usage, the operator finds it difficult to get a replacement because of the high cost, besides, inadequate number of battery charging outlets in state capital will add to their woes. ”