Ministry of Power (MoP) had earlier issued Guidelines for the Establishment of Charging Infrastructure in the country on December 14th, 2018. The document included a number of important announcements including the declaration of EV Charging Business as a de-licensed activity and minimum requirements for setting up of Public Charging Infrastructure.
EV penetration and Charging Infrastructure make for a classic example of chicken and egg problem in the country, where the lack of accessible charging infrastructure is seen as one of the biggest barriers in EV adoption. According to BloombergNEF, India had an estimated 650 charging stations for 4 wheelers in 2018.
Many in the charging industry had felt that the original guidelines rendered the capital cost of setting up the Public Charging Station (PCS) too high, leaving little incentive for private businesses to enter the space. The primary concern of the industry had been that the guidelines dictated the choice of charger models – diminishing the returns on capital investment of setting up a PCS. We have to acknowledge that as of now, most 2 wheelers and 3 wheelers in India are charged using a standard 15 Amp plug at home/office or fleet operator’s charging facility as the case may be. There are very limited models of electric cars available in the country. DC-001 can only be used to charge Mahindra e-verito and TATA Tigor EV cars, and CCS2 is used to fast charge Hyundai Kona that has sold 130 units till date. A business would see little value in installing CCS and CHAdeMO chargers in advance when there are hardly any takers for them in the market at the moment.
The image below shows a summary of all the charger models necessitated by Dec 14, 2018 EV Charging guidelines for setting up a PCS:
In order to give a boost to EV adoption, the ministry of power has revised and clarified the earlier guidelines taking into account the feedback and concerns shared by stakeholders, ie. EV buyers, EVSE manufacturers and Public Charging Station operators. On 4th Oct 2019 – Power Minister RK Singh approved these amendments, which will supersede the earlier issued charging guidelines.
For charging industry or entities interested in setting up the PCS, the following amendments have been approved:
1. The flexibility of choosing number and models of chargers – The amended guidelines provide the freedom to PCS operators to install chargers (viz. CCS, CHAdeMO, Type-2 AC, Bharat AC 001) as per the market requirement.
2. Any other fast/slow/moderate charger as per approved DST/BIS standards whenever notified can also be installed at the PCS.
3. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) nominated as the Central Nodal Agency to facilitate installation of Charging Infrastructure. Further, a provision for State Nodal Agency for the respective states has been provided for in the Guidelines to facilitate the installation of Charging Infrastructure throughout the country.
Pointers regarding EV buyers’ concerns regarding charging facilities and limited range of electric vehicles as per amended EV Charging guidelines:
Many of the below points are similar to ones mentioned in original guidelines released by the MoP in Dec 2018. However, as the latest press release makes a mention of these points, we are reproducing the same here:
1. Private charging (with a charger of choosing) at residences/offices shall be permitted and DISCOMs may facilitate the same.
2. Domestic charging shall be akin to domestic consumption of electricity and shall be charged as such.
3. In the case of PCS, the tariff will be determined by the appropriate commission in accordance with the Tariff policy issued under section 3 of the Electricity Act 2003. Also, as charging is a service, an appropriate agency will be tasked with fixing the ceiling of service charges to be levied by the PCS. This move underlines the government’s intention to pass on a part of the subsidies and incentives provided to PCS operators to the EV owners.
4. At least one charging Station in a grid of 3 Km x 3 Km in the cities
5. One Charging Station at every 25 Km on both sides of highways
6. Phase-wise installation of an appropriate network of Charging Infrastructure throughout the country. The first phase (i.e. 1-3 years) will cover all Mega Cities with a population of 4 million-plus as per census 2011, all existing expressways and important highways connected to these Mega-Cities. The second phase (3-5 years) will cover big cities like State Capitals and UT headquarters
8. For inter-city travel and heavy-duty EVs like e-buses and e-trucks, a Fast Charging Station to be installed at every 100 km on each side of the road in addition to PCS mentioned above
9. State/UT governments to perform land identification for PCS as per above density/distance parameters.
10. DISCOMs to prioritize the installation of the power distribution network as per given density/distance parameters
The amendments have been applauded by the businesses in EV Charging industry as they believe the flexibility offered will make the EV charging a promising commercial disposition. In his LinkedIn post – Varun Chaturvedi, CEO of Volttic – an EV Charging Service Provider, welcomed the move saying the amendment will make setting up a PCS a lucrative business opportunity and will lead to faster development of EV charging infrastructure in the country.
Last updated: 9 Oct 2019
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