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Sunday , 4 June 2023

SHIFTING GEARS: Electric Vehicle revolution in India

EESL has signed agreements with various departments in the central and state governments including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat for supplying EVs. They are also in advanced negotiations with agencies in other state governments across India.

EESL has adopted the Bharat Charging Standards prescribed by the Department of Heavy Industries, Government of India. There are separate chargers for fast (DC) charging and normal (AC) charging. A normal charger can charge three EVs simultaneously whereas a fast charger can charge one at a time. The fast charger can charge EVs in 60-90 minutes whereas a normal charger takes 6-7 hours to charge the same cars. EESL has procured both fast and normal chargers for EVs through a competitive bidding process. The price for a normal charger is around INR 60,000 whereas a fast charger costs INR 2.95 lakh.

Currently, EESL caters to only four-wheeler electric vehicles for the government. Speaking on the eco-system required for setting up charging stations for electric vehicles, Singh added, “An effective charging infrastructure is required for creating the ecosystem for EVs to operate smoothly and that will be possible when there will be clear policy and regulatory environment, active participation of states and industry. For instance, clarity on standards for EV charging infrastructure will drive in more investments.

Currently, the Department of Heavy Industry, Bureau of Indian Standards, and the Automotive Research Association of India are working towards establishing various technical standards for design and manufacturing of EVs and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) or charging infrastructure. These measures will set the stage for rapid EV adoption in the coming years.

Further, enabling systematic adoption of EVs requires a holistic approach and coordination among urban planning, transportation and power sectors. Construction of EV charging station requires space mainly due to the space needed for the cars themselves while they are being charged. Proper planning of place, population and traffic density should be taken in to consideration before implementing the largescale charging infrastructure. In addition to this, safety issues need to be adequately looked into while setting up of charging stations.

The recent move by the Ministry of Power to categorize charging batteries of EVs as a service, will help encourage the use of electric vehicles. Charging of EV batteries through charging stations does not need a licence under the provision of the Electricity Act, 2003. They can be installed by anyone subjected to the compliance of the Indian charging standards. This should further provide an impetus to the entire e-mobility ecosystem including vehicle manufacturers and charging infrastructure companies.

As per Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), global EV penetration is less than two percent while, in India, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), it is currently less than 0.2% for two and four-wheeler segments. While purely from an operating cost perspective running an EV may be most competitive as against other fuel-run vehicles, however from a TCO ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (capital and running cost) point of view EVs are to-some-extent more expensive than gasolinepowered vehicles.

Rahul Shah, Chief – Strategy & New Business Services, Tata Power said, “It would be safe to presume that the initial thrust will need to come from Government policy and support, coupled with initial demand from institutional buyers and shared-mobility providers. Critical is the need for investment in reliable and well-spread charging infrastructure in the country that will address existing concerns, around range anxiety and charging speed, which can be expedited through public-private collaborations.

Tata Power’s focus is to provide easy access to energy-efficient charging infrastructure and make India EV ready. The plan is to deploy a mix of fast and regular chargers at charging stations that will facilitate both private and public use. They have pioneered EV infrastructure in Mumbai, having established 12 Electric Vehicle charging stations with 15 charging points across the city. Furthermore, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (Tata Power-DDL) has installed EV charging centers at five locations spread across its area of distribution.

Apart from Mumbai and Delhi mentioned earlier, Tata Power will be expanding its charging station network in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune as well. Tata Power EV charging network will have both normal and fast chargers. The average time to charge the present generation of EVs from Tata Motors and Mahindra, from zero to full charge, with a normal charger will be around seven hours and around 90 minutes with a fast charger. However, Shah observes that majority vehicles use their charging station for topping-up their battery charge in order to maximize their vehicle utilization. Time taken to top-up battery charge can be significantly shorter as compared to fully charging the battery and can be controlled by the EV owner.

Shah added, “Since the cost of setting up fast chargers is nearly twice as much as a normal one, the pricing for customers will also vary accordingly. Our initial focus will be on creating awareness of the service and availability of e-mobility infrastructure.

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