KOCHI: The mushrooming of charging stations across the city and a hike in fuel prices are proving instrumental in an upswing in the electric vehicle market in Kerala. As per the data from Motor Vehicles Department, the number of electric vehicles registered in the state has been steadily rising. Of the 7.83 lakh vehicles registered in 2022, nearly 4.6% are electric vehicles (EVs) - 39,564. This is an increase of 1.13% from the previous year.
That’s not all. Nearly 2,967 EVs have been sold in just the first 18 days of 2023. This is a whopping 7.92% of new vehicles registered in the state, and more than twice the number of EVs sold in 2020. This is certain to rise even further, according to experts in the auto sector. What’s perhaps restraining this number is the fact that most manufacturers are unable to meet the demand.
“Though there is a huge demand for EVs, the manufacturers are not able to deliver such numbers. Many people are still waiting to get their EVs. If supply can meet the demand, the number of new EV registrations in the state will double,” said Eldo Benjamin, senior vice president (sales and marketing) at Nippon Toyota.This surge in demand is despite EVs costing significantly higher than their petrol and diesel counterparts. “While many users have shifted to EVs due to their economic efficiency, a large number have done so because they want an eco-friendly car. EV will be the king of the market in no time, Eldo added.
The easy availability of charging stations has also helped the case. “Earlier, vehicle owners had to drive a lot to find a charging station. But they have come up even in remote areas,” said Deepu N K, a motor vehicle inspector. “Even the government is promoting EV vehicles to reduce carbon emission,” he added. The Kerala government’s recent move to provide a 50% tax reduction for hybrid and electric vehicles for five years was also a major catalyst for this recent surge in EV sales.
The Kerala State Electricity Board also pioneered the concept of electric pole charging. It now intends to set up 1,500 charging stations across the state. At present, the state has over 1.64 crore vehicles with an annual increase of 7-8 lakhs/year. Of them, 98.52% rely on conventional fuels.