[Start-it-up] A Public EV Charging Station Business
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Growing levels of pollution and diminishing non-renewable resources have opened several discussions about switching to electric vehicles (EVs). While green mobility is desired by all, one of the major roadblocks in the transition is lack of enough charging infrastructure for batteries.
In a bid to both improve charging infrastructure and make way for people to begin their own business, the central government had de-licensed setting up of public chargers. In simple words, any individual or entity can set up EV public charging stations, however, they need to meet the technical standards listed by the government.
If you are someone who wishes to invest your time and resources to make a greener impact, and have deep interest in electric engineering then you might want to look at having your own charging station.
Things To Keep In Mind
1. EV charging industry involves hardware, software, installation services, operations and maintenance. So first, you need to thoroughly research and understand the market needs to decide on the type of charger you want to install. You need to decide whether you would like to provide charging services for two wheelers or four wheelers and trucks and decide on the charging stations accordingly.
2. Secondly, you need to identify the areas with higher number of electric vehicles in order to generate demand for charging services.
3. Once you decide on the type of chargers and the areas you want to work in, you need to connect and partner with EV charger manufacturers. Some notable manufacturers include ABB, Delta Electronics and Exicon Power Solutions, among many others. However if you have the resources and wish to build your own charging stations, then developing the hardware or a software can take up to 20 months.
4. Apart from hardware and technology needs, you also need to have local certifications from the authorities as you will be working in the space of electrical power. While setting up EV charging business does not require any licence, every state has different power compliances. Thus one needs to get in touch with the power supplier and fix the electricity rates.
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Minimum Requirements as Stated by Central Govt
The central government mandates certain requirements under its ‘Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles – Guidelines and Standards’ notification. Every public EV charging station should have the following:
1. An exclusive transformer with all related substation equipment including safety appliances.
2. 33/11 KV cables with associated equipment for line termination or metering.
3. Appropriate and good quality civil works.
4. Adequate space to not only install the charger but also allow easy entry and exit of the vehicles.
5. Currently, CCS and CHadeMO international standards are widely used by the manufacturers. Thus the charging station must have electricity kiosks with installation of the following charger models.
- CCS (min 50 kW)
- CHAdeMO (min 50kW)
- Type-2 AC (min 22kw)
Slow or Moderate Chargers
- Bharat DC-001 (15 kW)
- Bharact AC-001 (10 kW)
6. Partnership with at least one Network Service Provider to enable online booking of charging slots.
7. Data collected should be shared with the distribution companies (discom) and the business should follow the protocols laid down by them for the business. The Central Electricity Authority will also get access to the data.
8. A public charging station can be operational only after inspection and clearance by concerned electric personnel assigned by the discom. You can run your charging station only after receiving clearance certificate.
9. Public charging stations can also offer standalone battery swapping facilities if conditions allow.
Please note that meeting all the above requirements are not needed for private charging station which will not be used for commercial purposes.
Speaking with Entreprenuer India, Magenta Power’s Managing Director, Maxson Lewis said that a minimum investment of INR 50 lakh is needed to start a public electric vehicle charging station business and stay invested in the space. However, the investment might increase depending upon your business scale and if you wish you build your own chargers.
You will mainly need to invest your funds in:
1) Installation of the chargers
2) Maintenance of the chargers
3) Partnership with the charging manufacturers. In case you plan on building your own chargers, then you would need to invest in purchasing the parts needed to build the charger.
4) Invest in getting local certifications from the authorities.
5) Sourcing electricity.
While generating revenue is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of a business but one interested in EV space needs to be mindful that the industry is extremely nascent in India. Lewis also highlighted that adoption of electric vehicles has not taken up yet in the country and hence demand of infrastructure may not be readily available.
Apart from demand, electricity tariff and subsidies which differ for different regions also influence the revenue generated in the business.
"Currently EV charging business is a social service and not a profit making model as of yet. You can expect to generate revenue at best but not make profits," Lewis added.
While it is extremely difficult to give an idea of the approx revenue considering different factors involved, one may expect a yearly revenue of 15-20 Lakh in the initial years. According to experts in this space, one interested in this field should always be mindful that while revenue might be generated, it will take a long time for any business to generate profits in this nascent industry.