Setting the Stage

EV charging infrastructure tender details

The government has been working on a number of policy initiatives towards achieving the 30 per cent electric vehicle (EV) goal by 2030. Post the announcement of Phase II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) scheme in 2019, there has been an increased thrust on the setting up of EV chargers. To this end, the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, launched a major tender this year for installing over 2,700 charging stations across the country. A look at the tender details and the major bidders…

Policy background

The DHI launched the FAME scheme with an outlay of Rs 7.95 billion in March 2015. Phase I of the scheme was initially approved for two years starting March 2015. However, it was extended from time to time till March 2019 with an enhanced outlay of Rs 8.95 billion. Under FAME II, the focus is on the electrification of public and shared transportation, and the laying of charging infrastructure for EVs. The government has proposed to invest Rs 100 billion in the next three years commencing from April 1, 2019 to support 7,000 buses, 55,000 four-wheelers, 0.5 million three-wheelers and 1 million two-wheelers that operate on lithium-ion batteries, and set up 2,700 charging stations, one for every 3 km in cities and every 25 km on both sides of highways. It has allocated Rs 10 billion as subsidy for setting up the charging stations.

In April 2018, the Ministry of Power issued a notification clarifying that setting up charging stations for EVs will not require a separate licence under the Electricity Act, 2003. The power ministry also issued guidelines in December 2018 for charging infrastructure, under which it asked public charging stations (PCSs) to install both Japanese and European charging platforms. Recently, in October 2019, these guidelines were amended as per which PCS owners have the freedom to install the chargers based on market needs. It has been provided that any other fast/slow/moderate charger can also be installed at the PCS, as per the approved DST/BIS standards whenever notified. Thus, the guidelines provide enough flexibility while giving a democratic choice to the owners of EVs as well as public charging stations in terms of installing the type and the number of chargers.

Details of the tender

In July 2019, the DHI invited proposals for the deployment of EV charging infrastructure under FAME II from urban local bodies (ULBs)/municipal corporations, PSUs (state/central) and public/private entities.  The proposal covered a million plus cities as per the 2011 census; smart cities as notified by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs; satellite towns connected to seven metros; major cities of special category states/UTs; and the capital cities of all states/UTs not covered in the above categories.

Initially, a total of 1,000 EV charging stations (slow and fast) were earmarked for deployment. It is estimated that these stations will be able to charge 6,000-8,000 vehicles at a time. Bharat AC-001 (10 kW) has been specified as the mandatory charger type for slow charging stations, while CCS II and CHAdeMO 50 kW or higher capacity is specified for fast charging stations. Three categories of EV charging stations were mentioned in the tender based on the location and purpose: category A (established at public places for commercial purposes), category B (established on the premises of a state or central government office complex, etc. for non-commercial use) and category C (established on the semi-restricted premises for commercial or non-commercial purpose). The maximum demand incentive will be 70 per cent for category A, 100 per cent for category B and 50 per cent for category C. The applicable incentive in the tender was based on the lowest bid price of the charging equipment and once finalised, it will be released in instalments as follows: 20 per cent after the issue of the supply order as mobilisation advance, 40 per cent after the commissioning of EV supply equipment and 40 per cent after six months of successful commercial operation of charging stations.

Tender results

As per news reports, the DHI received a total of 100 bids from public and private companies in response to the tender. About 50 bids were received from private companies but no private sector company qualified as they had to bid through nominated agencies for the states. Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) secured significant orders. EESL emerged as the qualified bidder for setting up about 600 charging stations across Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Noida, and Chandigarh, among other cities. REIL, meanwhile, won 1,000 tenders for setting up the charging infrastructure in about 50 cities. NTPC Limited is likely to get contracts for 200 charging stations while Power Grid Corporation of India Limited may qualify for about 10 charging stations. ULBs of Dehradun, Guwahati and Tirupati, and the municipal corporations of Navi Mumbai and Bhubaneswar also secured some contracts. However, the official tender results are awaited.

Clearly, the DHI tender will enable FAME II to move forward and may, in fact, prove to be a game changer for the e-mobility segment.

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