New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) With electronic vehicles (EVs) comes the mammoth task of developing docking stations for charging and India has slowly embarked on the journey towards acquiring public land to build such charging kiosks.
Automakers, battery manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and power utilities are currently in talks to create a sustainable ecosystem for charging stations in the country.
Unlike the US, Canada or China, India is still far behind on creating infrastructure of charging stations for EVs but an urgency can now be sensed in the air – with some EV charging points coming up in Bengaluru and New Delhi.
According to the “Urban Mobility Lab” imitative by the Delhi government and non-profit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), access to charging and battery swapping infrastructure is a key driver of EV adoption.
“Potential EV operators and charging infrastructure providers are experiencing challenges associated with a lack of charging and battery swapping infrastructure due to limited public land availability, long timelines for power connections, and a lack of standards,” laments a latest “Urban Mobility Lab” report.
Cities have important roles to play in supporting the build out of public charging networks that enable EV operators to conveniently charge their vehicles.
The report suggests some key ideas like creating a favourable regulatory landscape, appropriate guidance and incentives for ownership and operation, and potentially a set of pilot projects to learn how best to build charging and battery swapping network.
“Provide EV charging and battery swapping service providers with greater access to affordable land. One strategy for doing so is to work with industry to identify mutually beneficial public locations for which the government can offer discounted land rentals,’ stresses the report.
The Ministry of Power’s guidelines suggest that all charging stations in India should use three charging standards: the Indian Bharat, the European Combined Charging System (CCS), and the Japanese
Currently, the Bharat standard is most economical due to its lower upfront cost and higher market share; because of its lower voltage, it serves two- and three-wheelers, which make up the majority of EVs in India.
Many EV policies and regulations do not yet have specific provisions for battery swapping technology. This lack of clarity can lead to challenges with vehicle registration and other requirements.
According to a recent Niti Aayog report, the limiting factor of batteries on driving range may be addressed by developing an ecosystem of fast-charging or swapping of batteries, by creating an infrastructure, maybe even every kilometre, in dense areas.
“A smaller battery will lower costs by reducing the total weight of the vehicle, resulting in higher energy-efficiency and improved ability to upgrade as the technology evolves. Charging infrastructure can be rolled out on a city-by-city basis with select cities and regions leading the transition,’ the report elaborates.
This would be consistent with global experience where 33 per cent of all EV sales take place in only 14 cities where charging infrastructure is widespread and convenient to use.
An EV uses electricity as fuel which is stored in a battery in the vehicle. The charging can be done at home using what is called as home-chargers (also referred to as private-chargers) or public chargers, installed on streets, parking lots, petrol pumps, or any other public charging space.
Among a backdrop of daily price increases on petrol and diesel fuel to historical record highs, a result of volatile global oil prices and a steadily weakening Indian rupee – the context has become even more imperative.
Vinay Piparsania, global consulting director-automotive at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, says that personal vehicle options for EVs will require further development, assurances and accessibility to a reliable infrastructure and broader ecosystem.
The partnership between start-up Sun Mobility and bus and truck manufacturer, Ashok Leyland, supports electric buses through a network of swapping-battery stations named Quick Interchange Stations (QIS).
Suzuki and Toyota have announced an alliance for readying a host of electric and hybrid vehicles for the Indian market by 2020-21.
“Along with these alliances, new business opportunities will also emerge. For example, in the case of charging infrastructure setups – being established at residential households/apartments, at commercial public parking lots and shopping/business centers as well as in industrial/institutional facilities, much like existing fuel stations,” says Piparsania.
These charging setups could be established either by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), parking lot owners, solar energy enterprises, estate owners, fleet owners and even closed user groups, he suggests.