Scaling Up: Public and private sectors take steps to expand EV charging facilities

Public and private sectors take steps to expand EV charging facilities

Range anxiety and charge anxiety are amongst the biggest roadblocks to the adoption of electric vehicles (EV). While the former refers to the users’ concern about the number of kilometers an EV will run, the latter is related to the apprehension of not being able to find a charging station when needed. The development of a robust expansive charging infrastructure is, therefore, crucial to the uptake of EVs in the long run. The central government is taking several measures to step up the establishment of charging stations by releasing a bulk tender under the flagship Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) scheme. State governments are also marching ahead by launching EV policies with adequate emphasis on the creation of charging facilities. The private sector is also complementing the efforts of the central and state governments for scaling up charging infrastructure in various cities and towns.

FAME II tender update

The Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, launched a major tender in 2019 for installing nearly 2,700 charging stations across the country under the FAME II scheme. The scheme proposes the installation of one charging station at every 3 km in cities and at every 25 km on both sides of highways. The government has allocated Rs 10 billion as subsidy for setting up the charging stations.

In August 2019, the DHI invited expressions of interest (EoI) for the deployment of EV charging infrastructure under FAME II from urban local bodies (ULBs)/municipal corporations, PSUs (central/state) and public/private entities. As per the tender results notified in January 2020, the DHI has sanctioned 2,636 charging stations in 62 cities across 24 states/union territories under the scheme. About 106 proposals from public/private entities for the deployment of about 7,000 EV charging stations were received.

The maximum EV charging stations have been allotted in Maharashtra (317), followed by Andhra Pradesh (266), Tamil Nadu (256), Gujarat (228), Rajasthan (205), Uttar Pradesh (207), Karnataka (172), Madhya Pradesh (159), West Bengal (141), Telangana (138), Kerala (131), Delhi (72), Chandigarh (70), Haryana (50), Meghalaya (40), Bihar (37), Sikkim (29), Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh (25 each), Assam (20), Odisha (18), and Uttarakhand, Puducherry and Himachal Pradesh (10 each). Out of these 2,636 charging stations, 1,633 will be fast charging and 1,003 will be slow charging. As per DHI, a total of 14,000 charging stations will be installed across the selected cities in the near future.

The sanction letters to selected entities will be issued in phases after ensuring the availability of land for charging stations, the signing of necessary agreements/MoUs with concerned partner organisations such as city municipal corporations, discoms and oil companies. Subsequently, each selected public entity will be required to initiate the procurement process in a time-bound manner for the deployment of charging stations. Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL), Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), NTPC Limited and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited are likely to have secured contracts for setting up charging stations under the scheme. In a separate development, EESL and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) have collaborated to set up public charging infrastructure as part of the National Electric Mobility Programme.

State initiatives

Several states/UTs including Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have notified EV policies and setting up charging infrastructure is a key focus area of these policies. For instance, the Delhi EV Policy, released in December 2019, aims to provide public charging/battery swapping facilities within 3 km of travel from anywhere in Delhi. Energy operators are likely to be invited to set up charging and battery swapping stations across Delhi in multiple phases by pooling and providing locations for charging stations at bare minimum lease rentals. The state government will provide a capital subsidy for the cost of installation of charging stations. Further, 100 per cent of net state goods and services tax will be provided as reimbursement to energy operators for the purchase of advanced batteries to be used at swapping stations. The policy also has provisions for private charging infrastructure. Accordingly, all new home and workplace parking spaces will need to be “EV ready”. Further, 20 per cent of all vehicle-holding capacity/parking will be required to be EV ready. The Delhi government will provide a 100 per cent subsidy for the purchase of charging equipment up to Rs 6,000 per charging point for the first 30,000 charging points. The subsidy will be routed through discoms, which will be in-charge of installing chargers.

Under the Tamil Nadu EV Policy, notified in September 2019, the state will invest in charging facilities in association with Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO). The state government will provide capital subsidies to encourage private sector players to invest in charging infrastructure deployment for hotels, shopping malls, cinema halls, and apartments. As per the policy, charging stations will be developed at every 25 km on both sides of state and national highways. TANGEDCO plans to set up charging infrastructure in public-private partnership mode.

The Uttar Pradesh Electric Vehicle Manufacturing and Mobility Policy, released in August 2019, has set a target to install nearly 200,000 slow and fast charging stations and swapping stations by 2024. The state discoms will set up 100 public charging stations in each of the 10 model electric mobility cities (Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Mathura, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Varanasi).

Kerala is targeting 1 million EVs by 2022 under its EV policy released in 2018. As part of the policy, KSEB Limited invited EoIS in August 2019 to set up 64 charging stations in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam. Earlier, in June 2019, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited in association with Indian Oil Corporation Limited set up the state’s first charging station in Kochi. The two companies are jointly planning to set up eight EV charging stations in the state by 2020. Like other state policies, Maharashtra’s Electric Vehicle and Related Infrastructure Policy 2018 also lays emphasis on adequate charging infrastructure. In line with the policy, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited has issued tenders for 50 direct current EV charging stations in the state. The utility further plans to set up around 500 charging stations in the next few years.

The Uttarakhand EV Manufacturing EV Usage Promotion and Related Services Infrastructure Policy 2018 aims to make the state a preferred destination for investment in EV manufacturing capacity. The state government is focusing on developing green highways in Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Haldwani, Rudrapur and Kashipur, and incentivising the development of EV charging infrastructure in these places. The state government also plans to make industrial land available for the development of EV charging infrastructure and EV manufacturing capacity in clusters and zones.

The Karnataka Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy 2017 aims to develop charging infrastructure as a commercially viable business venture that attracts private investment. Incentives in form of subsidies are being offered for setting the first 100 charging stations. The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) is planning to inaugurate 80 such EV charging stations on government office premises. The discom has received Rs 40 billion for setting up charging stations.

Private sector initiatives

Private sector companies are also contributing in the setting up of charging infrastructure by forging partnerships with EV manufacturers, fuel retailers and start-ups in the space. For instance, Tata Power Company Limited has entered into a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) India for end-to-end EV charging solutions. As part of the association, Tata Power will provide charging solutions for JLR across its retail network of 27 outlets in 24 cities and at customers’ residence and/or office. The move precedes the launch of JLR’s first EV, Jaguar I-PACE, in late-2020 in India. Earlier in 2019, Tata Power had signed an MoU with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) for installing EV charging stations at HPCL’s retail outlets and other locations across India. Similarly, in August 2019, MG Motor India Private Limited partnered with Delta Electronics India for setting up charging stations for EVs in different parts of the country. Under the partnership, Delta will install AC chargers in private vehicle parking locations such as homes and offices, enabling its customers to charge EVs at their convenience. The partnership was forged before the launch of MG Motor’s ZS EV in India.

The BSES discoms have also signed a couple of agreements to scale up charging and battery swapping infrastructure in Delhi. BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) has signed an agreement with EV Motors India Private Limited for installing EV charging stations at selected locations in Delhi. The two companies will work jointly to create, operate and maintain charging infrastructure using innovative cloud-based integrated software platform. BYPL has also signed an MoU with Elektromobilitat India Private Limited for setting up EV charging stations in east and central Delhi.

The BSES discoms have also signed an MoU with Ola Electric Mobility for setting up battery swapping stations in Delhi. As part of the agreement, Ola Electric will manage and operate these stations through a cloud-based software system while BSES will facilitate the identification of strategic locations for battery swapping and charging stations, depending on the optimum usage and potential of EVs in the area.

To sum up, several initiatives are underway by the government and private sector to expand charging infrastructure in the country. These initiatives are much needed to accelerate the transition to e-mobility in the coming years.

Neha Bhatnagar