BENGALURU: In an indication of the growing popularity of battery-run vehicles, especially after the rise in fuel prices, the total number of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state has crossed the one-lakh mark.
According to the Union ministry of road transport and highways, 1,00,432 e-vehicles were registered in Karnataka till April 15 (Friday). Statistics show Uttar Pradesh (3 lakh) has the maximum number of EVs in the country, followed by Delhi (1.4 lakh). Karnataka is third.
The other states which have a high number of EVs are Maharashtra (88,479), Bihar (73,259), Tamil Nadu (71,393), Rajasthan (65,080), Assam (55,974), and Gujarat (28,637).
Of the 1 lakh EVs registered in Karnataka, two-wheelers add up to 73,453, followed by cars (7,763), autorickshaws (17,357), and buses (101). Records show monthly registration of EVs in Karnataka is also going up. In March 2022 alone, 7,880 e-vehicles were registered – the highest ever monthly figure in the state. In contrast, only 424 e-vehicles were registered in March 2018, 1,085 in March 2019, 905 in March 2020, and 2,657 in March 2021.
The number of EVs registered in Karnataka increased from 6,453 in 2019 to 9,730 in 2020 and to a record 33,306 in 2021. Between January 1 and April 15 this year, a total of 22,839 EVs were registered. This means the number of EV registrations this year is likely to surpass that recorded in previous years.
However, many prospective EV buyers complain that Karnataka government is not providing any subsidy, unlike in other states. In Karnataka, only road tax exemption with no registration fee is given to EV customers. Many other states/union territories offer financial subsidies for electric two-wheelers to go with road tax exemption. Delhi offers a maximum subsidy of Rs 30,000, while Maharashtra provides up to Rs 25,000.
Pawan Mulukutla, director (energy technology and green mobility) at World Resources Institute India, said: “Around 80-90% EVs registered in Karnataka are from Bengaluru, which is home to many electric mobility startups. Karnataka government should provide an outright subsidy to States like Delhi are creating several awareness campaigns to encourage people to switch to EVs,” he said. Mulukutla said there is a range of anxiety among EV owners, especially on long distances routes. “There should be a charging station every 25km on highways to help EV owners travel long distances,” said Mulukutla.
MP Shyam, president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association (Karnataka chapter), said: “Demand for EVs is going up. For one, fuel prices are going up. Two, the younger generation is more aware of green mobility and its benefits . Three, availability of better vehicle models and charging stations.”
Lack of concessions
He said vehicle owners are now getting the Centre’s FAME subsidy, but the Karnataka government is not offering any subsidy. “Most major states in the country are providing additional subsidies to encourage people to shift to EVs. In fact, Bengaluru has a startup ecosystem for electric mobility, but most of their manufacturing units are in neighboring Tamil Nadu because of cheaper land and other concessions offered by the TN government.” Shyam, however, said it will take 10-15 years for the EV market to evolve. “First, two-wheelers will shift to electric, followed by cars and buses. It will take a few more years for electric cars to replace fuel-run ones.”
According to sources, the industries department is pushing for subsidies for customers, but the finance department is not in favor of it because of cash crunch. Officials say they are now giving incentives to EV makers and investors so that they can transfer the benefits to consumers by reducing vehicle base price. However, prospective EV customers say they are not getting any discounts.