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Time to bring EV charging stations to our parking spots

Jul 10, 2023


Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of global mobility, and its story is being scripted today. The shift to electric mobility is essential for India to achieve its sustainability targets and net zero emissions by 2070. This is because the complete mobility sector, including roadways, waterways, railways, and airways, accounts for 18% of the country’s total energy consumption.

This amounts to carbon emissions of around 142 million tonnes, and a whopping 86% is shared by roadways. Therefore, decarbonizing of mobility sector is of paramount importance, and EVs have an instrumental role to play.

EVs outlook globally and in India

With EVs being the future of mobility, the world is already working towards its swift adoption.

According to reports, 2.1 million charging stations were installed by 2019 and by 2030, China, the European Union, and the U.S. are expected to have a cumulative total of 120 million electric vehicles on the road.

In India however, the shift to electric mobility has its share of fair challenges. Currently, the sector is at its nascent stage. The complete value chain is being implemented and is vulnerable to pressures. The public needs to be more ecologically conscious or find the value proposition of buying an EV lucrative enough.

Additionally, the lack of charging infrastructure, the disparity in electricity tariffs due to localization of DISCOMs, lack of technology and inventories for EVs are posing a challenge for the swift installation of EV charging stations.

For electric mobility to be really successful, India needs to invest massively to create avenues of facilitating energy solutions that customers can leverage at any place and at will. For a fleet of an estimated 20 lakh vehicles that could be on road by 2026, a FICCI study estimates that over 4 lakh charging stations would be needed to power these EVs. However, it is worth considering that unlike carbon fuel stations pumps, EV charging stations will only marginally address the charging needs. This is because EVs take considerable time to charge and that would only lead to long lines outside charging stations.

Government’s policy interventions for EV charging stations

The Government is working towards addressing the challenge. It is introducing battery swapping policy. It is an interesting policy proposition that has the potential to give a big push to the energy-as-a-service (EaaS) or battery-as-a-service (BaaS) sectors. The industry eagerly awaits for the fine print. However, battery swapping would need the key differentiator for EV manufacturing OEMs – which is the battery – would have to be standardized across the board.

There is yet another way of addressing the charging problem and revolutionizing the adoption of EVs. This is by decentralizing the EV charging infrastructure and distributing across public, private, and commercial real estate. It is well understood that most cars are stationery for long hours at some point in a day. In case of EVs this time can be utilized for charging them. However, the absence of charging stations at the point of parking becomes a major roadblock. It is therefore time for Indian mobility to trigger a tectonic shift in the way it is fueled. For EVs, instead of taking the vehicles to fueling (charging) station, it is now time to bring fuel stations to the parking spots.

The govt. also aims to standardise the single charging port gun and establish a dense network of normal-power EV charging points that reduces the need for high power and ultra-high power charging points, which are more expensive and can be detrimental to EV battery health if over-used. The govt. also aims to bring in a policy framework that will establish a common charging swapping port at EV charging stations making it common for all kinds of batteries.

Recent developments for EV charging stations

A major step has already been initiated by the Government. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Power had released the guidelines for home charging, allowing domestic electricity connections to be used for charging of EV vehicles. The “Revised Consolidated Guidelines & Standards for Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles” also proposed a revenue sharing model for land use to make charging stations financially viable. India really needs to promote home/office charging, and infrastructure should be built to facilitate the same. (This statement is not making any point here) The construction of public EV charging infrastructure should be pushed so that vehicles parked at residential societies, offices, public parking, restaurants, commercial areas, etc., can be charged.

The more public charging stations are installed, the stronger demand creation will be for EVs. It will also boost energy-as-a-service. This is also an opportunity for real estate players to partner with EV charging infrastructure companies, automotive sector, and the Government to decentralize EV charging points across geography. Electric mobility has a greater role to play in sustainable growth of the economy. Its success depends upon how convenient is it to charge their vehicles at the usual places they park them.

There is no denying the fact that India is accelerating structural transformation for e-mobility to achieve its dream of complete electrification in vehicles by 2030. Studies show that India will require a large number of in-home charging infrastructure and at least 2,900,000 public charging stations in the coming decade. For achieving this, the center and the public and private partnerships will play a potent role across states in India. New policy interventions and the adoption of the blueprint of EVs by all Indian states will further accelerate the growth of charging stations across the country.

A quick guide to installing and charging your EV

Step 1 : Hire a certified electrician

Step 2 : Obtain permits and check eligibility for your home to install an EV charger

Step 3: Confirm that the electric panel in your home has sufficient space to accommodate a circuit breaker for the home EV charger

Step 4: Purchase a Level 2 charger and make sure it is by a well established brand

Step 5: After following the above steps diligently, and inspecting all is fine, install the charger with the help of a professional

Frequent questions