Low-cost charge-points plan seen as big plug for EV adoption

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on May 14, 2021

The Indian Standards for LAC for EVs will be released in the next two months

The government’s initiative on low-cost AC charging infrastructure and the decision to bring it under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will not only benefit local companies, but also solve the hesitancy among vehicle buyers for whom charging is a key issue.

The Indian Standards for low-cost AC charging point (LAC) for electric vehicles (EVs) will be released in the next two months.

Fast-track process

A committee involving key stakeholders, including EV manufacturers, auto and electronic component suppliers, power utilities, and communication service providers, worked in fast-track mode to develop specifications, prototype products, and test and validate the proposed standards, which will be formally issued by the BIS.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), and the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) worked in co-ordination with a NITI Aayog team on this.

According to EV manufacturers and industry veterans, this will ease the access to charging at public places.

“Till now, the lack of adequate charging infrastructure was touted as the biggest hindrance in the wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles. After the implementation of this initiative, there will be a significant increase in the confidence levels of people to use this technology that is cost-efficient and rational,” Jeetender Sharma, Managing Director and Founder of Okinawa Autotech, told BusinessLine.

Mainly for metros/cities

LAC charging points will be mainly for metros and big cities, as large numbers staying in housing complexes raise challenges in setting up home charging facilities, said Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log 9 Materials.

According to a government statement, several Indian manufacturers are already on board to make this charge-point device to Indian standards, at prices starting as low as ₹3,500.

The LAC device is intended to be highly scalable and deployable at any place where a 220V 15A single phase line is available, mainly parking lots of metro/railway stations, malls, hospitals, office complexes, and apartment complexes, it said.

“It's a positive development that will allow the creation of a robust charging network across the country and help in eliminating the range anxiety among commuters,” Sohinder Gill, Director-General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), said.

V Sumantran, Chairman, DST-PSAO Group on Charging Infrastructure, observed, “Furthermore, this effort brought out the talent in India for intelligent cost-innovation. Affordability constraints in India demand that we address problems keeping in mind both cost and scalability.”

According to industry watchers, charging units currently available for electric two- and three-wheelers are priced upwards of ₹15,000 and that is one of the reasons for low adoption of EVs.

The government sees fastest adoption of EVsin two- and three-wheeler segments as the share of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) versions of these vehicles account for around 84 per cent of total vehicle sales in India.

It expects up to four-million of such EVs could be sold each year by 2025, growing to almost 10 million by 2030. Therefore, any charging solution to serve this sector must be highly scalable, easily accessible by public to support interoperability, and be affordable, it added.

Published on May 13, 2021

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