How I bought my Nexon EV in Kerala, but registered it in Karnataka

Although it took us two trips, I think it was a good experience to get the whole process done ourselves.

BHPian varkey recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

We recently purchased a Tata Nexon EV Max and thought would share the registration-related experience (drama?). We always wanted the vehicle to be registered in KA as both my wife and I work in Bengaluru, although with WFH we were mostly in Kerala for the past two years. Also, the zero road tax definitely tips the scale towards KA.

So now the question is, if you wanted to register in KA, then why not just buy from KA? Well, that’s what I thought too and booked the car 3rd week of May with Key Motors, Bangalore, but I was 25th in queue and the SA was least bothered. I had also registered interest with the Tata dealer in Kerala through the Tata website, the SA reached out, and said the booking amount is only Rs 11000 (as opposed to the official 21k amount) and urged me to make a booking if I am interested. I thought why not, and transferred the amount, I had made it clear that I would be registering in KA. Long story short, I get a call from the SA towards the end of June, as there was a vehicle available. I confirmed immediately and the vehicle was tagged and billed to me. At this point, I am still 25th in the queue with Key Motors, Bangalore

The vehicle arrived 10 days or so later, did the PDI and now comes the registration formalities.

Temporary Registration

Since we would be permanently registering the vehicle in KA, we needed to get a temporary registration from Kerala. I had already shared the address proof and other documents to the SA as part of the booking process. The SA as part of a previous discussion hinted that I might need to make a personal visit to the RTO to get the temporary registration issued, I didn’t take it seriously at that point, it sounded a bit absurd. Kerala MVD has enabled dealer point registration, so everything is normally done online through Vahan. Now, once the insurance and other paperwork was done and it was time to actually submit the application in Vahan, the person handling registrations at the dealership called me to share their standard operating procedure (SOP) with respect to temp registrations for out-of-state permanent registration.

  • The dealership will make the initial application in Vahan
  • The application will only be submitted to a Sub RTO 30 km away from my house and the dealership. Apparently, this is the dealership’s “home RTO”, the dealership has multiple showrooms in Kerala. There is a Sub-RTO in the very same town, to which they are not allowed to submit the application. Why? No clue.
  • Then I need to personally visit the JRTO at the Sub RTO 30 km away with a letter from the dealership on their letterhead requesting a grant of temporary registration, along with proof of address. The JRTO will review and sign in “green ink” authorising the request if he/she finds the case genuine ie pre-approval.
  • The dealership will then attach this signed letter to the Vahan application and forwards it for approval. Without this step, the JRTO will not approve the request.

At this point I was irritated, I am well within my right to get a temp registration and making me run through these hoops is pointless. I expressed my displeasure with the process to the SA and the person handling registration, but they said they have been instructed to follow this process by the SRTO and will not deviate from it. If I am so much inclined to not follow their SOP, I had to send an email authorising them to submit the application without the pre-approval from the RTO, at my own risk.

Since I wasn’t convinced at this point, I decided to call the JRTO myself and enquire about the process. I got the number from the Kerala MVD website and spoke to the officer, and he was like, yes this is the process. There are a lot of cases of tax fraud happening and he has been instructed to strictly verify the applications for temp registration before approval. If we go for an in-person hearing, it will be much quicker else he has to send a letter to his counterpart in KA and ensure the address is valid etc. before he can approve. Basically saying if we don’t visit him in person, he will delay it indefinitely. Not wanting to create an issue, asked when I can come to visit, and was given an appointment between 4-5 PM on the same day.

Spoke to the dealership person, saying that I will be visiting the JRTO and will share the pre-approval soon, and asked him to keep everything else ready to forward the application for approval in Vahan. Then he insisted on taking the letter from the dealership on their letterhead, or else it will not be approved. I asked for a sample of the letter and it’s basically the dealership requesting behalf of me to approve the request as we are settled in KA. I found that odd, if I am going in person, then the letter should be from me and not from the dealership. So I wrote a letter on plain paper saying that we are working at companies based out of Bangalore, have valid address proofs and the only reason for getting the car from KL is the early delivery. Visited the Sub RTO, the JRTO’s office was directly accessible and the moment I told them that I had called earlier regarding temp registration, he mocked me a bit “Oh, you are the one who didn’t want to make this visit”. Showed him the letter, also Aadhaar for KA address proof. He said the vehicle should be used only in KA other than for short visits to KL, if moved permanently to KL, I needed to pay the relevant taxes to KL MVD. I assured him the car would be used primarily in KA and if in the future there is a change, I will follow the relevant rules. Then I think to inconvenience me a bit more, he asked me to create a self-signed affidavit in a Rs 50 stamp paper saying all this. After this, my request letter was signed in “green ink” saying the request is allowed provided the affidavit is uploaded.

I returned back home as the stamp vendors were usually closed by then. The next day morning got the Rs 50 stamp paper, printed the affidavit, and signed and scanned it. Shared the scanned PDF of the letter and affidavit to the dealer by around 10 AM, and asked for it to be uploaded and forwarded for approval asap. I guess the dealer didn’t expect me to come with the pre-approval docs so soon, he didn’t have all the remaining docs ready even though he claimed the previous day everything is ready and he can submit them within 5 minutes of him receiving the pre-approval docs.

Another hiccup was with FASTag. I wanted Paytm FASTag cause of integration with Paytm postpaid (which I learned much later has been suspended since mid-June) and the dealer only had Federal Bank FASTag. So I had ordered a Paytm FASTag online a few days prior, since Paytm doesn’t accept chassis numbers when buying online, I entered only the last 8 characters of the chassis number which was accepted. The dealer had asked for a fitment challan to upload in Vahan if I am getting FASTag on my own which Paytm provided so I was not expecting anything to go wrong. Little did I know that Vahan actually verifies in real-time if there is a FASTag associated with the chassis number. How does it do that? NPCI seem to be providing some API which lets you lookup FASTag status for a given vehicle registration number or chassis number. User-facing website.

Since I provided only the last 8 characters of the chassis number to Paytm, the FASTag check failed obviously. I could confirm the same on the above NPCI website. The dealership suggested getting another Fastag issued, I asked them to go ahead and they immediately got the Federal Bank FASTag issued. After this, the dealer confirmed that the FASTag check in Vahan is green and he is able to proceed.

Once the application is submitted, the status can be easily tracked in Vahan which is nice. By the time everything was said and done it was 6 PM on a Saturday, which means RTO approval would come only by Monday. By Monday noon, the application was approved and the temp number was assigned. There is no SMS notification sadly, even though the mobile number is updated in Vahan, I wonder why. Once I noticed it was approved, informed the dealer right away and he said he’ll get the vehicle from the yard and arrange for delivery the next day evening.

The car was promptly delivered the next day as promised, the dealer affixed a printed sticker of the temporary number in the right colour scheme.

And this is the sanitised temp registration certificate after all this drama, valid for 6 months which is pretty cool. The fee for temporary registration is Rs 160.

Lessons Learned / Thoughts:

Permanent Registration

We had a trip planned to Bangalore in another 10-12 days so thought to get the permanent registration done during that time. We thought to give it a try by ourselves first and see how it is, if it was too troublesome, then maybe get the services of an agent.

So the first week of August, we dropped in at the KA03 RTO at Kasturi Nagar in the afternoon around 2-3 PM. Most of the shops around the RTO are of RTO agents, driving schools etc as we’d expect. There is more than enough space for parking inside the RTO premises, behind the main building. Once the vehicle was parked, we entered the building from the front and found many agents waiting and asked us how they can help. We just asked where to go for new registration, and nobody was interested to help and said they don’t know (right ), but luckily one person pointed us to the 2nd floor and there we could see the boards marked “Non-Transport Registration” but we couldn’t find anybody available at the counters or on that floor. We waited for a few minutes and then went into a JRTO’s office room which pointed us to meet a person in the opposite room. We went in and told that we have come for new registration and showed the documents that the dealer had shared. He was very helpful and selected the documents that were needed and put them in the right order. Everything was fine, but Form 20 needed to be signed and attested by the banker with the seal in duplicate, but we had only one set. He said this was a mandatory document if the vehicle is under hypothecation and asked for this doc to be arranged. He then asked to get a paper file with a tag, a Form 14 which is a taxation form and an envelope, said it’s all available in the shop right outside. Since this is an EV, the road tax is 0, so not sure of the relevance of the tax form but I guess it’s their standard process. Once we have all the docs (the second Form 20 with banker’s sign/seal) by next week, he asked us to come directly to him and it’s a quick process. He also mentioned that the vehicle would need to be inspected by the vehicle inspector when we come next.

We were a bit disappointed about missing Form 20 in duplicate. This was something that I knew but totally crossed my mind, and the dealer didn’t mention it either. In fact, dealer only included one copy of Form 20 and we got the form signed by the bank ourselves, even when we went to the bank, they didn’t mention about the 2nd copy. I guess everyone missed this. Anyway, called the bank manager and she was kind enough to get it signed/sealed and courier it to us in Bangalore, but it could be done only the next day as the courier dispatch from the bank for the day was already done.

We also got the paper file with the tag, Form 14 and envelopes from the store outside. Since we were not sure at the time whether to get a prepaid envelope with stamps or not, we got a blank/empty envelope and an envelope with stamps pre-attached. The whole set cost us around Rs 30.

Docs required

  • Form 14
  • Temporary registration certificate
  • Form 20 (In duplicate with sign/seal of the bank, if hypothecation is required)
  • Form 21 (Sale certificate)
  • Form 22 (Road worthiness certificate)
  • Proof of fitment of FASTag
  • Insurance
  • Invoice
  • Envelope + Paper file with the tag

The signed/sealed form 20 from the bank reached us early next week, but there was a public holiday in between so we decided to go to the RTO on Wednesday, Aug 10th morning.

  • 11:00 AM – Reached RTO, the security didn’t allow us to park inside today and said the inspection happens on the parallel road. We just parked outside on one of the side roads.
  • 11:10 AM – Met the officer on the 2nd floor we spoke to the other day, he verified the docs, arranged them in the file and passed it to another officer who does the data entry in Vahan.
  • 11:20 AM – Data entry was complete and a new registration application in Vahan was submitted. The application number was written on top of the file and we were asked to go to the cash counter downstairs.
  • 11:35 AM – There were 4-5 people ahead of us in the queue, so it took some time to pay the fee. The total fee came to Rs 2062 (breakup below) incl registration fee, hypothecation, postal fee and a one-time road safety cess. We paid in cash, not sure if they accept cards/digital payment methods. Also, only the various Vahan fees are accepted by cash at the counter, if a road tax payment is required (in case of non-EVs), you need to get a demand draft made of the amount.

(I wasn’t sure why the new registration fee was waived, maybe some waiver for EVs)

Once we paid the fee, we had to get the pencil sketch of the chassis number on Form the 20s. We were told to do it vertically on the right side of the 1st page of Form 20. The Nexon has the chassis number on the side of the driver’s door and under the driver’s seat. The one on the side of the door is easily accessible so we got the sketch done on both the Form 20s.

Now comes the vehicle inspection, the officer from the 2nd floor had told us to get the sign from any Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) that we see. Now how do you distinguish them if they are not in uniform? We asked a security guard, and he said for inspection we have to take the vehicle to the parallel road (similar to what the security guard at the gate said), the MVI would come there and ask us to go wait.

We took the car to the parallel road and noticed many two-wheelers lined up for fitness inspection, there was also a fire engine so we parked beside the fire engine (shown in red above). We didn’t know at the time, but apparently, there was a different queue for four-wheelers at the crossroads. We stood for 10-15 min, and suddenly people started moving around and getting their paperwork ready. Then we were able to identify the MVI and his assistant, he seemed really irritated with everyone and was inspecting the two-wheelers first. The assistant read out the chassis numbers and the MVI cross verified. If there was any sign of rust, he straight away rejected it. For some very old vehicles, he asked the owners to start the vehicle and ride it to prove that it works. A couple of them the MVI rejected (at least in front of everyone, not sure if it would get approved later ). Once he was done with the two-wheelers we went ahead with our file, and he is like why are you trying to cut the line, don’t you know where the car lane is etc and pointed us to move to the car lane. Then as I got in to move the car, the MVI spoke to my partner, said fine and proceeded to inspect the car, assistant read out the chassis number and then the MVI signed on form 20. He then asked us to wait at his office (Room 20 or so).

We drove the car to the parking space within the RTO premises and went inside again. This was around 12:10 PM and then the waiting game started, the MVI came only at 1:20 or so and he called us in first. Now he is like, why did you have to wait as it’s a new car, should have just given the file and left. He also asked us why we purchased the vehicle from Kerala, said it was due to the early delivery, and he wasn’t much concerned. He then took the file and threw it to the assistant asking him to take care of it. The assistant made the MVI sign at the right places on the form and gave us the file, and asked us to take it to the first officer who helped with the Vahan application. He checked everything, said it looks good, kept the file with him and said we can leave. We also wrote our address on the envelope and attached it to the file. Said the approval would be done by EOD and then we can reach out to the Tata dealer to get the HSRP. He also informed me that the RC would be printed only after the HSRP status is updated in the system. We were out by 1:30 PM.

Once home, we kept checking the status on Vahan with the application number for updates, but only Inspection was marked as complete on that day. Initially, we were a bit worried if something is wrong and were planning to visit the RTO again the next day afternoon, however by 11 AM the next day all approvals were done and the number was assigned. This time too we did not get any SMS update.

Lessons Learned / Thoughts:

  • Although it took us two trips, I think it was a good experience to get the whole process done ourselves. If we had all the docs in order the first time, we might have been able to finish everything on day 1. (also see point below)
  • There were notices put everywhere on the 2nd floor, saying new applications would be accepted only before 1:30 PM, so not sure if they’d accept the application in the evening. Maybe it’s good to go in the first half.
  • You get an edge if you speak the language, so my wife who speaks Kannada did almost all the talking.
  • While I was there, I could see many dealership staffs (Hyundai and Maruti, going by the logo on their shirts) coming in and dropping their files, could see 100-200 or more files on a table. I guess dealer point registration is not fully enabled in KA.
  • Other than for the fitness inspection, I couldn’t really find the owners anywhere. Even for that, I didn’t see the owners afterwards, all subsequent steps seem to be done by agents. Perhaps the presence of the owner during inspection for re-fitness is mandatory.

Continue reading BHPian varkey’s Nexon EV registration process for more insights and information.

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