KOCHI: Kochi witnessed an automotive revolution this year with a stark increase recorded in the number of people switching to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-driven vehicles. CNG's many benefits, including cost-effectiveness, prompted many to make the shift.
According to sources with CNG fitment centres in the district, as many as 150 vehicles approach them for conversion every month. “The number was less initially. This year, it began to pick up. So far, over 800 vehicles, mainly commercial vehicles like taxis, have fully converted into CNG. Its eco-friendly nature is prompting many to opt for this mode,” said Dileep Rajagopal, who runs a CNG kit retro-fitment centre in Kochi. But, it isn't a smooth run yet. The lack of enough pumping stations, that too within the city limits, has proved to be a hindrance. There are nine to ten pumping stations in the district, of which only five are full-fledged. Most of them, however, are situated in the fringes of the city.
The public sector oil retailer Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd have been commissioned to set up 15 CNG stations in and around the city, but there seems to be an inordinate delay in setting up the remaining stations. Right now, only the pumps at Kalamassery, Aluva, Container Road, Cheranallore and Maradu supply fuel. And, as for outside city limits or suburbs, CNG ceases to be an option due to the absence of a fuel station.
However, a top official with the Indian Oil Adani-Gas Pvt Ltd said there is no shortage in the number of stations in the city. "We supply as per demand. Three more stations will function in BPCL, IOCL and HPCL retail outlets very soon," he added.
The economic side
If petrol costs Rs 6 per km, CNG can cover 1 km with Rs 2 or Rs 2.5. This makes a huge difference for taxis and autorickshaws, the number of which has
skyrocketed in the city. The initial cost of conversion is high and depends on the type of engines, but that could be covered within six months," he added
The vehicle should be eligible and should be a model released after 2006.
Approval from RTO
Should be done from authorised centres
Proper safety measures should be followed
Advantages of CNG
CNG costs less. One kg of CNG retails for around Rs 53, compared to Rs 66 for diesel and Rs 70.5 for petrol
One-time cost in installation can be recovered within six months
Clean fuel and low emission rates
Engine turns efficient and cleaner
First e-vehicle charging station
Kerala’s first electric vehicle charging station has come up at Indian Oil Corporation’s retail outlet at Edappally. With this, Kochi has become the second city in South India to have an EV charging station after Hyderabad. As a promotional measure, IndianOil will charge all vehicles free of cost till September 30, 2019.
It was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan through video conference in the presence of V C Asokan, chief general manager & state head, IndianOil, Kerala, from the venue of E-Mobility Expo 2019 here on June 29.