Clean Tech

Where are the charging stations for EV buyers?

Preeti Mehra | Updated on December 27, 2020

EV revolution rides on public charging stations   -  K MURALI KUMAR

Experts spell key policy drivers that will help expand electric vehicle charging facilities

The government has set its sights on making India a hundred per cent electric vehicle (EV) nation by 2030. This is a tough target without early adoption of EV technology for public transport and a robust EV charging infrastructure countrywide.

Today electric mobility is largely represented by private two-wheelers and three-wheelers such as commercial rickshaws or goods carriers. In FY 2020 only 4,000 EV four-wheelers were sold, one of the bugbears being inadequate EV charging infrastructure — only 1,332 public charging stations countrywide, at last count.

To speed up EV mobility, the government introduced the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles) scheme for investors. Under Phase 2 or FAME II, the plan was to instal 2,636 charging stations in 52 cities. The fund allocation was ₹10,000 crore for 1.6 million EVs during 2019-22, of which ₹1,000 crore was towards EV charging infrastructure. Though over a dozen states have shown interest, the pandemic has slowed the pace.

Meanwhile, a model-based analysis on the economic and policy drivers needed to scale up public EV charging stations has been drawn up by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI), and Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI). Hyderabad in Telangana and Ahmedabad in Gujarat are in focus currently.

Telangana expects to adopt hundred per cent EV sales for public and shared transport by 2030. It is offering a capital subsidy of 25 per cent of the cost of charging equipment with a maximum of ₹5 lakh per station for the first 500 stations. Gujarat targets sales of one lakh EVs by March 2022.

The key recommendations of NRDC and others are as follows:

The government must introduce integrated policies at the national, state and city levels.

To attract investment, financial relief must be provided to cover initial capital costs of hardware and charging infrastructure. It should identify land for the charging stations with an emphasis on long-term leases and lower interest rates.

The government must ensure attractive tariffs for EV charging; ToD (time of day) charging to reduce payback period for chargers, flatten electricity demand peaks, improve grid stability, and reduce operational costs for EV users.

In the final analysis it is all about planning ahead. As Rajkiran Bilolikar, Associate Professor, ASCI, succinctly puts it: “The future belongs to electric vehicles. It is time to regroup and create stronger foundations for its emergence... Now it is critical to ‘charge’ ourselves with essential infrastructure.”

Published on December 26, 2020

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