Yangyel Lhaden

Installing charging stations for electric vehicles in the remaining 14 dzongkhags will take time with the lockdowns hampering work.

To encourage and promote electric vehicles, the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) spearheaded the installation of charging stations aimed at completing the installation by the end of fiscal year, July.

Chief Transport Officer, Sithar Dorji with RSTA said that feasibility study for installation of charging stations in 14 dzongkhags was completed and sites identified. “ We have floated a notice inviting tender for procurement and installation of charging station and construction of sheds.”

He said that RSTA was planning to install one fast and semi fast chargers each in each dzongkhag. Construction of substations such as installation of transformers and laying of cables would be taken up by Bhutan Power Corporation Limited as deposit work.

Sithar Dorji said the pandemic delayed the installation of the charging stations and would now be completed only by the end of the year.

He said that installation of charging stations was the first step to remove barriers in promoting EVs on a broader scale. “ Uptake and sustainability of EV largely depend on availability of adequate, easily accessible , and convenient quick charging infrastructure.”

Bhutan Sustainable Low Emission Urban Transport Systems Project installed 23 charging stations in Thimphu, Chukha, Phuntsholing, Gyalpozhing, Paro, Haa, and Wangdue. Five charging stations in Phuntsholing are under construction.

The installation of charging stations is a part of the project which started in 2019 which aims to replace 300 fossil fuel-driven taxis by the end of this year.

Through corporate social responsibility Kuenphen motors is installing charging stations in Bumthang, Thimphu, Wangdue, Paro, Mongar, and Tsirang. Charging stations in Bumthang, Thimphu, and Paro are completed and a charging station in Tsirang, Wangdue, and Mongar is under construction. Thunder Motors has also installed one charging station in Mongar.

The government approved Nu 69M in the fiscal year 2021-2022 to co-fund the project to install charging stations in remaining dzongkhags which are not covered by the project.