NEW DELHI: The government plans to appoint state-owned power distribution companies, central public sector undertakings and municipal corporations as nodal agencies for setting up a minimum skeleton network of more than 4,000 electric vehicle charging infrastructure in identified cities and highways.
The Centre is working on a policy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure as per which the designated government agencies such as NTPC, Power Grid Corporation of India, state power discoms and select municipal authorities will have to identify locations and set up charging infrastructure in the assigned cities and on select highways within one year. They will have to operate the stations for at least three years, said a senior government official.
The government has proposed a grant of Rs 1,050 crore for 4,200 public charging points in populated cities and major highways, besides concessional land and local authority support.
India aims to shift 40% of its fleet to electric mode by 2030.
As per the proposed policy, committees at central and state levels will identify the cities and highways, designate nodal implementing agencies and monitor and review implementation of the charging stations, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The committees might opt for bulk procurement of charging stations through agencies such as Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. The Department of Science and Technology is yet to announce the technology to be adopted for charging stations.
Private companies including Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Fortum, Ola and Uber are keen on entering the charging infrastructure sector but only when e-vehicles sales pick up, the government official said. “This intervention by the government is required to break the chicken and egg situation where electric vehicle sales are not picking up due to lack of charging points and charging points are not coming up as there are no vehicle sales. PSUs (public sector units) are likely to be asked to set up the required initial infrastructure irrespective of the traffic estimations,” he said.
ET had on May 16 reported that the government proposed to set up a network of electric vehicle charging stations every three kilometres in cities with a million plus population, and at every 30 km on busy national highways.
“This is a gigantic step for New India, and such a policy push would enable to accelerate electric vehicles on ‘market-mode’, similar to solar in the coming years. Large-scale penetration of e-vehicles would be beneficial for grid operators to manage transition in the Indian electricity sector due to high penetration of renewables,” said Alekhya Datta, fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute.
oy Nandi, Advisor at Blue Canopy Consultants, said this is a welcome move, given that there not a lot of announcements from private charge point operators as yet. "Of course, key challenges to the execution will be overcoming regulatory and administrative hurdles in their respective organisations with appropriate internal capex and revenue model approvals. Even if that is resolved, customer service orientation and ability to mitigate technology obsolescence with changing battery and charging technologies, catering to multiple EV form-factors and power ratings of EV/EVSEs, are bigger challenges that they will find more difficult to overcome.
"The main question will unfortunately still remain - by when will these public undertakings be ready to take on this mammoth task, after fully understanding the commercial, operational and technological issues related to installing and operating charging stations," Nandi said.
The power ministry had clarified in April that setting up of charging stations for electric vehicles would not require a separate licence under the Electricity Act of 2003.
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