E-vehicles: HC asks Kerala govt to frame guidelines for charging points in flats

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 When the Kerala Government unveiled the Electric Vehicle Policy in March 2019, the vision was to have 10 lakh electric vehicles on the State's roads by 2022. We are in the second half of 2022 and not even a fraction of this number is on the roads.

The roadblocks are many, and the lack of sufficient charging points is not the least of them. The High Court now wants a specific and crucial aspect of this issue, the need for charging points in apartment complexes, addressed urgently. In an interim order issued on August 11, the Single Judge bench of Justice V G Arun directed the State Government to quickly formulate guidelines for installing charging points for electric vehicles in apartment complexes and report back to the Court during the next sitting in September.

The interim order was passed on a petition filed by Rugma Ramesh and her husband Ajeesh Kumar residing in an apartment of Purva Eternity Block E, Kakkanad, Kochi. The couple approached the court, through their lawyers Basil Mathew and Ninan John, after the owners' association, Purva Eternity Apartment owners' Association, prevented them from installing electric charging units in the parking space allotted to them. Their plan was to draw electrical lines from their individual meter board situated at the upper ground floor through the common area to their designated car parking.

After hearing Basil Mathew and Ninan John, the Judge said: "I find substantial merit in the contention that in view of Electric Vehicle Policy declared by the Government and the phenomenal increase in the number of electric vehicles in the State, adequate provision ought to be made to provide charging points for electric vehicles in the apartment complexes where the owners of electric vehicles are residing."

The petitioners argued that the EV Policy promises a "robust infrastructure" for electric vehicles. This included not just adequate power availability and reasonable tariffs but also a large network of charging points. Kerala government was also attempting to utilise some of its start-ups to further fuel the popularity of electric mobility.

In the case of Rugma and Ajeesh, even though they were willing to install charging points on their own, there was stiff opposition from the apartment owners. "In such circumstances, it is for the Government to formulate regulation and guidelines in the matter," the Judge said, and added: "Necessary steps in this regard shall be taken at the earliest and a

report regarding the progress achieved, made available to this court by the next posting date (September 16)." 

Popularity of EV on the rise in Kerala

Figures show that the popularity of electric vehicles is gradually on the rise in Kerala. If in 2019, when the EV Policy was unveiled, there were 470 EV registrations in Kerala, the number on Thursday (August 18) is 20,734. The growth is exponential, and the chunk of it, 19,409 registrations, had happened since 2021. And of this, 12,033 EV registrations happened in the last seven-and-a-half months. A sign that the shift to EV is becoming swifter with each passing year.

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