Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the government backed firm mandated with the procurement of electric vehicles, has cancelled the second tender it had advertised in March, 2018. The tender was for 10,000 vehicles, much like the first tender last year, though with some key differences.
The main reason cited has been the requirement in this tender for EVs in a higher performance category, both in terms of range and features, a requirement with which the existing Bharat EV chargers are simply not compatible.
Tata Motors and Mahindra had been the winners of the first tender, and deliveries have been happening, with more than a fair share of teething issues. From delays to officials declining to use the vehicles due to low range and other issues. Tata Motors, in particular, has already gone on record to state that the cost of a higher range for the vehicles will take them well beyond existing pricing limits.
EESL is reported to be figuring out dates for a fresh tender, with a key change. There will be two categories of range upto 140 kms, and range beyond 140 kms, a process which the EESL hopes will increase the number of participants and competition too. The old format of upto three winning bidders, with L2 and L3 matching L1, will continue otherwise.
The lowest (L1) bidder will be awarded 50 percent of the contract, the L2 bidder 30 percent and L3 bidder the remaining 20 percent. In case there are only two bidders, the L1 bidder will be awarded 60 percent of the contract whereas the L2 bidder will get the remaining 40 percent.
It’s a tough call, as it is becoming increasingly obvious that the shift to EV’s, at least in passenger vehicles will not be as smooth or simple as projected. With subsidies also being phased out, and EV charging stations a real challenge, besides the biggest bugbear, price, it might be time for the government and EESL, to think about ways to increase two-wheeler adoption among government staff at lower levels. It’s an area that holds much more promise and as the experience with the million plus E-rickshaws has shown, users do find a way, unlike the entitled lot in senior government positions.