June 30, 2020

Since the announcement by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari a couple of years ago that India’s automobile industry needs to go all electric by the year 2030, auto OEMs have been glued to the drawing board as they scrambled to put in place their respective EV blueprints.

But in the years to follow there this topic has taken quite a few turns. In September 2019, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari mentioned that there is no fixed timeline for auto makers to switch to electric mobility. Then a few days on, Gadkari again said the adoption of electric vehicles would help reduce the government’s import bill, and create “crores of jobs” in the country. In addition, ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles will also co-exist and will not be phased out, this announcement sent auto OEMs back to the drawing board as they scrambled to put in place their respective EV blueprints.

Many changes were seen in the timeline and the policies by the government due to few reasons.

Lack Of A Well-Defined Policy

What has clearly been the biggest roadblock is the lack of a vision and a clearly defined Electric Vehicle Policy by the government.

Since there is no ‘go to document’ for the EV sector to follow, this adds to the fact all the announcements relating to the sector have been ad hoc and abrupt which usually have often caught the stakeholders off guard. The fact that the Niti Aayog also takes it upon itself to make EV related announcements has also confused the situation.

The Corporate Quandary

In a classic blame game auto makers in electric mobility ask for better infrastructure from the authorities, they in turn and quick to lob the ball back at the corporate citing lack of sales numbers for EVs.

Critics are quick to point out that EVs are at best a city drive vehicle under the present scenario. But with the rapid evolving of electric cars long distance commute is not far.

The Charging infrastructure

The Government has already taken the initiative for setting up of the charging stations with a target of a minimum of 6,000 chargers with over 1,000 EV charging stations

The Ministry of Power in India has issued guidelines and standards for electric charging stations in December 2018. Under the proposal, the government will incentivize setting up of charging stations. According to DHI, the maximum incentive that can be availed under the FAME India Scheme Phase II will be divided into three categories ranging from 50 percent to 100 percent as follows:

  • 70 percent of the cost to the charging stations established at public places for commercial purpose 
  • 100 percent of the cost to the charging stations established within the premises of a state or central government premises for non-commercial use
  • 50 percent of the cost to the charging stations established within the semi-restricted premises for commercial or non-commercial purpose

In a major step in spreading the use of green energy, India’s first electric vehicle (EV) charging station was started here by Indian Oil Corp (IOC).

According to the government data around 75% EV charging stations will be in public; rest will be at homes. It’s not a surprise then that a number of companies are foraying into this area.

It is said that over the next decade, the Indian automobile industry will see its biggest disruption ever with the electrification of transport. But what is certain is everything is relying on availability or lack of charging infrastructure in the country. And to no surprise then that a number of companies are foraying into this area.

EVs are considered truly cost effective to run

EVs are believed to be cost effective but due to lack of infrastructure, there are issues with range anxiety. As of today, purely on operational cost, EVs are far cheaper to run than cars that run on gasoline.  The high upfront cost for every vehicle is also decreasing as all automobile companies are dipping into the future and support EVs. There will always be an initial issue of range anxiety but the players are all getting for the change and we already see so many start-ups have ventured into the market.

India’s specific plans on setting up charging network in the near future

All charging stations set up by them are owned and managed by them. They have taken the decision that they will jump in now and tune themselves based on the market as there are so many dynamics and variables to be considered. They are planning the network in a manner that it will have a combination of all types of chargers.

Mix of charging would India needs – Public or Home Charging

Government data says average per capita space available in India is 100 sq feet and 1 car requires at least that much. There will be a need to build these stations with parking as even in a city like Mumbai or Delhi, 70 per cent of the cars are parked on the roads with no fixed slots. So as of now in India, 70-75 per cent EV charging will be public charging and the rest will be home charging. Ratio should be 2:1 – slow and fast where the speed of the charger is concerned.

Vivek Kumar Dewangan ministry’s joint secretary recently said, “In a grid of 3-by-3 kilometer (km), at least one public charging station will be set up in urban areas. For the highways, at least one fast charging station is planned for every 100 kms”.

Companies like EO Charging UK are working to enable individuals to remove their dependency on the grid through integrations with solar panels, battery storage and smart home devices. Yahhvi Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Recently launched in India is aiming at becoming the best distribution network across India for Reliable and authorized EV chargers. They are working on EV awareness program designed by EO India and also creating a facility for EV charging for free and have committed will be installing a facility for 2050 chargers in North India by end of 2020. Yahhvi, a company with a mission to build up the infrastructure to provide reliable, straight forward EV charging solutions for all EVs in India.

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