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    The southern state of Karnataka has shown the way by opening a battery-swapping station for three-wheeler pubic electric vehicles, with a plan to roll out 100 such Swap Points in Bengaluru by the end of 2021. Apart from taking care of the range anxiety of e-3Ws, it is a significant step towards encouraging green mobility as the Government plans to replicate the same infrastructure for two-wheelers and four-wheelers in the next phase. One only hopes, the other states in the country also follow suit in the near future.

    Being the first state to implement an electric vehicle policy, Karnataka has raised expectations ever since. So when Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced the commercial launch of the first battery-swapping station, or Swap Point, at a virtual event on December 22, it was a no-shocker. The state capital Bengaluru now has four Swap Points meant to give electric vehicle owners a big relief from the dreaded ‘range anxiety’.

    Although e-rickshaws have been gradually gaining popularity all over the country, the challenge of longer charging time has been a sore point with many potential buyers. The Karnataka Government has provided a solution to this by deciding to roll out 100 battery-swapping stations in Bengaluru with the help of EV-focused firm SUN Mobility. The entire network will be fully operational by the end of 2021.

    • Although e-rickshaws have been gradually gaining popularity all over the country, the challenge of longer charging time has been a sore point with many potential buyers.
    • The e-auto rickshaws have been provided by Piaggio and are named as Ape E-City electric three-wheelers. These EVs have no gear or clutch and are, therefore, easy to drive.
    • Currently, India has a fiscal deficit of Rs 7.96 lakh crore which is almost 3.5 per cent of its GDP. The figure is expected to go higher because of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Bengaluru has emerged as a leader in the EV revolution in the country. The state Government also has plans to replicate the same infrastructure for two-wheelers and four-wheelers in the next phase.

    EV owners can replace dying batteries of their vehicles with the fully charged ones in two to three minutes, at any of these battery-swapping stations. A live demonstration was also given as part of the launch, where a woman e-3W rickshaw driver got three batteries of her vehicle replaced in no time.

    The e-auto rickshaws normally have a range of 80 km on a full charge. By getting their batteries swapped at one of these stations in a simple, two-minute procedure, they can now be driven for another 80 km which is a huge commercial advantage. The e-auto rickshaws have been provided by Piaggio and are named as Ape E-City electric three-wheelers. These EVs have no gear or clutch and are, therefore, easy to drive. Besides, like all electric vehicles, these e-3Ws are environment-friendly with zero emissions and zero noise.

    The use of these EVs for public transportation will result in reduced consumption of petrol and diesel in the city in a significant manner. This, in turn, will cut the country’s oil import bill, thereby helping in the reduction of the fiscal deficit. Currently, India has a fiscal deficit of Rs 7.96 lakh crore which is almost 3.5 per cent of its GDP. The figure is expected to go higher because of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Karnataka Government has also initiated a subsidy of Rs 42,000 on every e-auto rickshaw to boost their sales. This model of EV infrastructure needs to be followed by other states besides efforts to encourage and educate people about the advantages of EVs over petrol and diesel-run vehicles. Bengaluru has emerged as a leader in the EV revolution in the country by introducing battery-swapping for three-wheelers. The state Government also has plans to replicate the same infrastructure for two-wheelers and four-wheelers in the next phase.

    With global warming threatening to push earth’s temperature to critical levels, mainly due to human activities like burning of fossil fuels, it is time for all countries to adopt green mobility by shifting to electric vehicles. Karnataka has taken one major step in this direction. Other states must follow suit.

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