THE MODI government’s e-car dream is set for a big launch in BJP-ruled Maharashtra. In order to promote the use of electric vehicles, the government has decided to lease 50 electric cars from the Centre-run Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
These battery-operated cars will replace vehicles being used by senior officials at the state secretariat and at the Mumbai offices of the public works department (PWD). In the long run, the state government wants to phase out all government-owned conventional fuel vehicles and replace these with e-cars.
An official announcement regarding the initiative is expected to be made on May 31. The state’s general administration department and the PWD are likely to execute a MoU with EESL regarding the procurement, said officials.
Maharashtra Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe confirmed the development. As part of the initiative, a charging station for electric vehicles will be set up inside the Mantralaya campus. “A suitable place near the existing parking lot (at Mantralaya) is being identified for the charging station,” an official said.
Deepak Kokate, EESL’s Regional Manager (Maharashtra), said that such a charging station would require less than 10 square feet of space. According to Kokate, EESL’s e-cars would be leased to the state for a monthly rental of Rs 25,000 each.
With a fully charged car battery able to sustain up to 100 to 120 km, officials said that the first batch of cars will only be put to use for official travel within Mumbai.
Plans to similarly procure vehicles for government offices in Pune and Nagpur are being considered.
While the EESL provides chauffeur services for its cars for an additional cost, the state government, which has its own fleet of drivers, hasn’t opted for this alternative. As per the arrangement, each of the leased cars will ply up to 3,000 km a month on the lease rent. According to EESL’s conditions, the state government will have to pay an additional rent of Rs 3 per km beyond this distance, and also the maintenance cost for the additional distance covered.
While the EESL has agreed to pay toll taxes and other duties, Kokate said, “The government must consider exempting toll for intra city travel to promote e cars.” In February, Maharashtra had become the second state after Telangana to adopt an industrial promotion policy for the manufacture and use of e-cars in the state, announcing several sops and concessions.
EESL already has a tie-up with Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra for the supply of the e-sedans, which would be put to use.
Kokate said that the state government spends up to Rs 15 per km on fossil fuel vehicles, which, he contended, would come down to Rs 3.5 per km for electric sedans. The Modi government has set a target of replacing all fossil fuel vehicles in India with battery operated ones by 2030. Kokate said that the EESL was also in touch with petroleum companies and semi-government agencies in Maharashtra over the procurement of e-cars.