Moving towards e-mobility

To support the establishment of the EV charging infrastructure, Government has taken multiple steps which included de-licensing the setting up of public charging stations in May 2018 and to support the same with the FAME subsidy, Department of heavy industry issued an Expression of Interest that providesupto 75% subsidy for installation of charging station to make it more lucrative business. Realising the importance of promoting charging infrastructure, Ministry of Powerhad released guidelines in December 2018 which mandated installation of certain number and type of charging stations for it to be called as public charging infrastructure which was later revised in October 2019 with new guidelines which are more flexible compared to the previous one. Guidelines also provides provision of procuring electricity through open access to charging stations and also encourages DISCOMs to further the cause. Additionally, Government is establishing skeleton charging stations through EESL and has already done procurement and rolled out multiple tenders for the same.

The need for public charging is different for different modes of transport. Electric 2 wheelers to a great extent are agnostic to public charging infrastructure. Their charging requirements can mostly be fulfilled by home charging as their range on single charge is more than sufficient for daily driving needs for 95% of the population. Moreover, a lot of 2Ws are now coming with portable batteries, where a user can just remove the battery, take it with them and charge at home.

The adoption for e-3Ws has been very high mostly due to their cost effectiveness. These 3Ws run for short distances and are captive charged.Most of the aggregators opt for mixed charging modes depending on their operation models,some prefer to have swappable solutions that allows to recharge a vehicle in a couple of minutes as the driver just need to exchange the battery with a charged one from the swapping stations and some prefer to have fixed batteries, where aggregators have hubs where the vehicle can be parked and charged during night and do opportunity charging during day to extend the range.

The highest demand for a public charging infrastructure comes from 4 wheelers, which usually come with a large battery capacity. For personal use electric vehicles, the need for public charging infrastructure arises due to various reasons. Firstly, the limited availability of public charging systems is a psychological barrier for EV adoption in the country. Secondly, many cities still do not have access to 24hour electricity and have frequent power cuts, this adds to the concerns of the driver about not having a fully charged vehicle as most EVs require overnight charging. Thirdly, for intercity travels i.e. longer distances, the need for an infrastructure becomes certain. The highways have to be equipped with multiple charging stations for convenience and easy accessibility and availability. In the spirit of this, Ministry of Power in its guidelines have suggested for setting charging stations at every 25km on both sides of highways/roads, indeed a welcoming proposition.

For commercially run 4 wheelers,association with a charge point operator can bring a win-win situation for both as these vehicles travel longer distances with or without any fixed routes and need shorter charging times and hence, association with a charge point operator who has installed charging infrastructure at a strategic location can give extended range to the fleet operator.

With the Government being aggressive on the adoption of electric vehicles, electric buses have been included in the public transport fleet. They have a fixed route and are again prone to captive charging. Their fixed routes make it easier to predict their charging needs at different points. They are usually charged at the bus depots. State Transport corporations usually call for tenders for both buses and charging station installation at their bus depots to cater for charging needs. Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore are few cities who have successfully adopted electric buses with this framework.

Some players have started establishing their own charging infrastructure and have received great response and demand in the market. Even electric 3 wheelers have a widespread presence in last mile connectivity as their requirement for the charging infrastructure is met by their aggregators. It can be concluded that with the establishment of a good public charging infrastructure, the adoption rate of e-vehicles can be catalysed.

In India,there is another issue of multiple charging ports being used. Different cars have different compatibilities which makes establishing a steady charging network tricky and can be only addressed by incorporating innovative design of charging stations.

The future of mobility is smart, shared and electric and we are very excited to support this revolution. We believe that India has the right approach towards e-mobility and slowly but steadily we will achieve our targets of emission free transport.

| Article published on 06/01/2020 by Darshana Daga

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