Tshering Namgyal | Mongar
Electric taxi drivers say that they are getting a good public response.
However, delay in the installation of charging stations is affecting their business.
The taxi tshogpa of Mongar, Dechen Tshering, one of the first in the town to buy electric vehicle (EV), said due to the lack of quick charging stations they are not able to travel long distances.
This means a dent in their income.
Dechen charges his car at home every night or whenever the charge is over. It takes more than 14 hours for a full charge in the single-phase manual charging which can run up to 300 kilometres in hilly area drive.
“We can drive up to Trashigang or in the local towns of Gyalpoizhing and Yadi with full charging. To charge again we have to wait for long hours and can’t do the work continuously,” he said, adding that the electricity bill comes to about Nu 1,500.
He said that the charging stations would encourage other taxi drivers to shift to EV.
According to electric taxi drivers, the lack of quick charging stations hampers their work and poses challenges in the repayment of loan with high EMI for the car that cost about Nu 2.5 million bought with a government subsidy of USD 5,500 per car.
Mongar has three EV taxis, Trashigang has five, and Trashiyangtse two.
An electric taxi driver in Trashigang, Sangay, said without quick charging stations they are not able to plan a long journey.
“Some passengers want to go to Samdrupjongkhar but we can’t go because the full battery in the normal charging that takes about 20 hours is not enough for to and fro journey,” said Sangay.
Officials from Regional Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA), Mongar said shed construction and transformer installation works have been completed in Trashigang and Trashiyangtse. However, the shed construction in Mongar and Lhuentse could not continue after the contractor was terminated.
Sr. regional transport officer, Lhendup Dorji, said the remaining works were awarded to another experienced contractor and the construction will be completed in a week’s time.
He said charging machines are also on the way it would be installed in the four eastern districts soon.
Lhendup Dorji said three additional charging stations which can charge four cars at a time would be installed at Wamrong and Nganglam in the east and Tingtibi in Zhemgang in the central.