Is India Focusing Enough Towards Solving Issues Related To EV Charging Infrastructure?

According to a report by Florence School of Regulation, business model of EV charging in India is at the introductory stage and focuses on kickstarting the market
Is India Focusing Enough Towards Solving Issues Related To EV Charging Infrastructure?
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The Indian electric vehicle ecosystem is largely dependent on the robust charging ecosystem. Until and unless a developed charging ecosystem is needed to eliminate the fear of range anxiety among the users. According to a report by Florence School of Regulation, there are two major challenges faced by the charging ecosystem in India - firstly, ensuring the deployment of the charging infrastructure and secondly, integration of the EVs into the power system securely and efficiently.

According to the report, the total energy consumption of EVs in India will be approximately 3 per cent of total demand by 2030 and this can be accommodated without a significant impact on the power system. The report however also added that if charging infrastructure is not well distributed in terms of time and location, “it may lead to the high cost of electricity supply due to the increase in peak demand, and grid ageing and service interruption due to congestion in the distribution grid.” 

Related Story: Can Government's Push to Develop Charging Infrastructure Increase Demand For Electric Vehicles?

Business Model of Charging Infrastructure

According to the report, the business model of EV charging in India is at the introductory stage and focuses on kickstarting the market. The dominant business model includes providing charging solutions to business such as bus and taxi fleets and some B2C service providers. “The current charging station rollout is led by Utilities and Public sector undertakings (PSUs) with limited but growing private sector involvement. Hence, there is a large scope for business innovation in India’s EV charging space,” the report noted.

“Case studies of growth stage markets indicate that as the market develops, there is greater competition in the market arising from higher private sector participation. The focus shifts from providing basic vehicle charging to innovation in incorporating more value-added services in their offerings and how these services are offered.”

Innovation In Business Models

The report also added that currently, innovation in business models is evident in three areas - services, partnerships, and pricing. The businesses are promoting retailing of green power, providing a choice between multiple speeds, multiple sockets, multiple power retailers, and developing software applications for users via service innovation. 

Meanwhile, businesses are focusing on ensuring increased access to the wider charging network and partnering with actors that specialise in a particular service through partnership innovation is focused on ensuring. “Pricing innovation is occurring in the offering of subscription. In varying combinations, charging subscriptions provide users preferential rates, while access subscriptions provide priority access to the wider network,” the report said.

Policies Required For Efficient Deployment of Charging Infrastructure

The Indian government has been taking several steps to encourage  EV adoption in India. The government also launched the second phase of FAME this year to provide subsidies to vehicles. Under this scheme, the government also looks to deploy 2,700 charging stations across the country.

The report makes suggestions for policy and regulatory frameworks from both supply and demand sides.

Supply Side

  1.  The report recommends to mandate a time-bound, single window clearance for permissions required to develop charging stations; 

  2. It also suggests the policymakers to clarify the long-term role of state-owned utilities which are working towards EV charging station deployment, within the EV policy;

  3. The report  advises to periodically reassess the EV charging tariff structure 

  4. Incentives for installing EV chargers should be revised to ensure coverage in remote or low demand areas

  5. According to the report, EV policy should also include provisions for the development of frameworks to ensure ethical handling and use of user data and privacy. 

Demand Side

1) The report suggests that the EV policy should specify a comprehensive set of minimum payment methods which will be available to the users at the charging station;

2) Also, provisions for minimum facilities required at the public charging station should be developed based on government guidelines;

3) The report also suggests the development of harmonised intra and inter-state registration process for using charging infrastructure to allow the use of a wider network;

4) The report also recommends policymakers to mandate minimum standards for a mechanism to address consumer complaints within the EV policy.

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