Govt identifies cities, highways for electric vehicle charging infra

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With four months left for the Lok Sabha polls, the Union government has decided to give a strong push to electric mobility by allowing private charging at residences and offices, besides de-licensing setting up public charging stations, and offering priority connections for setting up such stations.

A charging station has been allowed to source electricity from any power generation company through open access.

These guidelines for electric vehicle (EV)-charging infrastructure were spelt out by the Union Ministry of Power on Friday. The ministry said the tariff for supplying electricity to public-charging stations will be determined by the appropriate electricity commission.

At the same time, the tariff must not exceed the average cost of supply plus 15 per cent. In the case of domestic charging, the domestic tariff will be applicable. State nodal agencies have been empowered to fix the ceiling of the charging station’s service charge.

The ministry has mandated all public charging stations must install one or more board with all the approved chargers — the fast ones (combined charging system or CCS/CHAdeMO/type-2 AC) and slow ones (Bharat DC and AC). 

Most of the existing locally made cars can be charged by using slow chargers. However, global players mostly have products that need to be charged on fast chargers. Each station must tie up with an online network service provider to enable advance online bookings of charging slots. Owners of EVs must have information related to location, types and numbers of chargers available at a station.

Powering e-mobility
  • Centre allows EV charging at residence, offices

  • Public charging stations to get priority power, retail fuel outlets to get priority

  • Each charging station must have chargers to cater to slow as well as fast-charging requirements

  • Stations must enable online booking of charging slots

  • Mandates minimum one station in a 9-sq. km area

  • Identifies cities with population of 4 million and above for phase I coverage of stations over a three-year period

The power ministry has laid down minimum requirements with regard to the density of charging stations as well as the distance between two charging points. There should be at least one charging station in an area of 9 square km and one charging station must come up every 25 km on both sides of highways/roads. Additional public charging stations can be set up in any area after meeting the above requirements. Priority may be given to retail outlets of oil-marketing companies for installing charging stations.

The ministry, after consultation with state governments and other relevant agencies, has decided to go for a phased roll-out of the public charging infrastructure. In the first phase, to be executed over a three-year period, all mega cities with a population of 4 million and above, along with the existing expressways and important highways connected with these cities, will be taken up for coverage. 

These mega cities include Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat, and Pune. Some of the road corridors identified for coverage include the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway, Delhi-Jaipur Highway, Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway, and Eastern Peripheral Expressway. 

In the second phase, spanning over the subsequent two years, big cities such as state capitals and headquarters of Union territories will be covered along with the highways connected with these cities. “The above priorities for phasing the roll-out shall be kept in mind by all concerned, including different agencies of the central and state governments, while framing further policies and guidelines for public charging infrastructure, including for declaring further incentives,” the ministry said.

The power ministry will designate a central nodal agency for the roll-out. All relevant agencies including the Central Electricity Authority are required to provide necessary support to this agency. 

Each state is required to nominate a nodal agency to facilitate setting up infrastructure in the state.

The above decisions assume importance as the government dropped the need for an electric vehicle policy early this year. 

Saurabh Kumar, managing director at EESL, which has leased over a thousand e-cars to various users in the central and state governments, said the decisions would make the country future-ready in EV-charging infrastructure. “The distance criteria will go a long way in addressing the range anxiety among buyers”. 

The EV space has been abuzz with activity over the last one year. Maruti Suzuki, the country’s top carmaker, announced plans to launch an electric Wagon R in the year 2020. Its Japanese parent, Suzuki, has partnered another Japanese peer Toyota for the EV roll-out in India. Korean carmaker Hyundai aims to launch an electric SUV in 2019. 

Homegrown players Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors are manufacturing electric cars, which are being supplied to EESL. At least half a dozen players are active in the electric scooter space. State transport undertakings are adopting electric buses manufactured by players like Olectra and Tata Motors.

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