The Kerala State Electricity Board has set up pole-mounted charging stations for electric autorickshaws in Kozhikode; payments enabled over mobile phones.
The northern district of Kozhikode in Kerala stands out in adopting electric mobility like no other in the state. Electric vehicles have found takers among the citizens of the district in an unprecedented manner, mainly due to environmental concerns as well as the zooming price of petrol and diesel.
As per the latest records, Kozhikode city alone is home to as many as 600 electric autorickshaws. Autorickshaws are the most favoured travel options, next only to the state-run KSRTC buses and the private buses that ply across the city. However, electric autorickshaw owners have been forced to use the plug point charging facilities at their respective homes every night if they are to be available for passenger transport the next day. Further, after running around 120 -130 km, the autorickshaw batteries need to be charged again if they are resume services.
The non-availability of adequate charging stations had proved to be a bane for autorickshaw operators and drivers who get to earn their bread only if they are able to provide services when a customer calls.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has come to their rescue now, with a new innovation that would help electric autorickshaws ply without being concerned about their batteries draining out.
Mobile payment system enabled for pole-mounted charging stations
The KSEB has brought forth innovative Pole Mounted Charging Stations’ that will be set up in as many as 10 locations across Kozhikode city. Attached to electric posts, these charging stations would be of service to electric autorickshaws and other electric vehicles plying in Kozhikode city.
Significant about this new innovation is that it has enabled a mobile payment system for users who use the pole-mounted charging stations. The lowest prepaid wallet rate is Rs 100, and on payment of Rs 70 via the mobile phone a single full charge is received. This would be enough to run at least 120 km.
Innovative charging stations to cover all of Kerala in 2nd phase
The pole-mounted charging stations would provide information on the time it takes to charge each autorickshaw, the electricity used and the amount paid. There is no extra cost as these are fixed in the existing posts and have been set up in compliance with adequate security standards, including CCTV.
Charge MOD, a Kozhikode-based start-up, has developed charging tools and software for the new charging stations. The charging stations have been set up at a cost of Rs 2.52 lakh from the e-mobility promotion fund of the state government. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has said that the tender process has begun towards setting up 1000 pole-mounted charging stations in all the districts of Kerala, in the second phase.