Charging Infrastructure Not The Bottleneck Towards Government's 2030 EV Mission: Magenta Power
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The trending electric vehicle market has been gaining a lot of attractions across the globe, however transition to e-mobility in India stands doubtful. Lack of clear policies, lack of technology, charging infrastructure, market uncertainities, skilled personnel etc are some of the setbacks in the industry.
At a time when many industry stakeholders believe that lack of proper charging infrastructure may hinder India’s 2030 EV vision, Magenta Power’s Managing Director, Maxson Lewis presented a contrasting view.
While speaking to Entrepreneur India, Lewis explained that the charging infrastructure is not the sole challenge for the industry rather the challenge is in the vehicles. He added that India has very limited options for purchasing electric vehicles especially four-wheelers.
“The more options (vehicles) are on the road, the charging infrastructure would build around it. If the number of vehicles on the road increases, then we can also go out with deploying charging infrastructure, ” Lewis said.
How Is Magenta Power Contributing In Developing Indian EV Market
Magenta Power, which was established in 2017, is aimed at generating, adopting and implementing clean energy. The company offers three services - Rooftop Solar Power Systems, Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions (ChargeGrid) and Technology platforms for clean energy (Energy Informatics).
In a statement, the company said that it is working on providing Indian solutions for Indian challenges in EV charging. It had established the first solar-based EV charging station and first EV highway (Mumbai-Pune EV Highway). It also launched it EV App named ‘Charge Grid’ which allows users to find out the location of EV chargers.
Recently, the company also launched its Make in India Portable Electric Chargers ‘Charge Grid Series’ for homes, offices and community spaces.
According to media reports, Magenta Power had roped in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) in July, as its strategic investor in order to increase deployment of electric vehicle (EV) chargers across India. The company is reportedly targeting 500 EV charging points across India by the end of this fiscal year.
According to Lewis, Magenta Power is now looking to launch a series of products to target user specific solutions.
What Does The EV Industry Need From Government?
“The government is doing what it has to do to bring a positive narrative about EV charging. That is why they are talking about putting up the charging infrastructure. But there is a slightly non-practical, non-technical view of things that the government has. What they are doing is good, but it may not be correct,” said Lewis.
While speaking on the government initiatives on developing the electric vehicle infrastructure, he said that the Centre spoke to OEMs while drafting the FAME II Policy but did not speak to any EV charging infrastructure providers.
“They have had discussions with the Ministry of Power and the utility state utilities have very limited experiences in EV charging. The understanding of EV charging is very limited in the government body, they need to speak with people like us before they roll out policies otherwise again it will be skewed policy,” Lewis said.
Central government’s EV scheme, the second phase of FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid & Electric Vehicles) was launched in April 2019, with an outlay of INR 10,000 crores to be invested in the span of three years. The scheme is aimed at supporting 10 lakh two-wheelers, 5 lakh three-wheelers, 55K four-wheelers, and 7K buses that operate on lithium-ion batteries or other electric power-train. The policy also proposed setting up of 2,700 charging stations across the country with availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km. However, the question remains, is this enough to develop the charging infrastructure?
According to Lewis, the government can help the EV ecosystem without investing. “The government need not get into the business, the need to simplify it for others to get into it. It does not have to invest to build the EV infrastructure, it needs to simplify the space for others to build it”. Lewis explained that for instance if the government says it will put up 3000 charging stations then companies may assume that the government has taken up the responsibility. But then the question remains, are the chargers being put up or are they operational?
Electric vehicle market is at a nascent stage in India. In order to boost EV adoption, both government and private players such as Panasonic is looking to develop charging infrastructure to eliminate range anxiety issues. However, the e-mobility goal of India is continues to remain doubtful owing to market uncearnaties and unclear policies.