How The Country’s Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles Will Shape Up?

Electric Vehicles (EVs) have provided an enormous opportunity for DISCOMs to capture new sources of demand flexibility while increasing revenue from a customer class that would grow significantly over the next decade. Converting the existing vehicle fleet in India to electric would add terawatt-hours of new demand to the grid and requires timely planning for cutting costs and maximizing the benefits to the customers and DISCOMs alike.

Moreover, the FAME II subsidy is available to a range of vehicle segments and will drive the rapid adoption of EVs in targeted vehicle segments. However, in order for FAME II to be successful, it would require direct support of charging infrastructure.

The Indian vehicle market is still in the early stages of electrification and is being propelled mainly by state and central government policy support. Further, the improvement of vehicle technology and lithium batteries is contributing to the growth in the sector. NITI Aayog and EMI further expect to see substantial growth in electric vehicles as well as electric buses. No accurate forecasts are available for predicting the adoption of electric vehicles. Hence, a range of future scenarios is considered for understanding the implications for long-term system planning.

Electric Vehicle Sales Forecast

RMI India. Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: A Guide for Discom Readiness, 2019 – NITI AAYOG

The scenarios we have presented provide a crude idea of the future EV customer segments could look like over the next decade. The accelerated adoption could be attributed to FAME II policy and other measures initiated by the state and the central governments which could help trigger rapid adoption of EVs in the country. The penetration of electric vehicles in sales has been estimated to be 30 percent for private cars, 40 percent for buses, and 70 percent for commercial cars by 2030. For two and three-wheelers it would be around 80 percent by 2030.

The charging requirement would depend not just on the kind of vehicle but also on the utility purpose: commercial or passenger. The target also entails simultaneous penetration of charging stations across India. The Government of India has been backing the EV industry through various schemes such as Fame I and Fame II with a major emphasis on charging infrastructure. The industry players have also been quite optimistic and have been actively involved in pushing the overall EV charging ecosystem.

What Does an EV Charging Infrastructure Require?

Though EVs are being worked by major OEMs, slowly an ecosystem for the development of charging stations, chargers, and other services is being steadily built. The charging infrastructure forms the backbone of electric mobility. However, it is also one of the key perceived barriers to EV adoption in India given its limited availability and long charging times.

India is slowly picking up the pace for setting up the charging infrastructure, but it is still not as it is like in other regions such as European Union (EU), China, or the USA. Uncertainty related to utilization rates of charging stations, DISCOM load, and high operating costs are holding back the charge operators from expanding their current reach.

Source: DHI – Committee Report on Standardization of Public EV Charge

An EV charging infrastructure includes the following:

  • A Charging Station that contains several charge points. A charge point could be considered to be equivalent to a refuelling hose of a petrol pump or a gas station. It can contain several outlets/connectors. A charger is then connected to connectors on the basic requirement and then goes directly into the vehicle’s socket.

  • A Central Management System (CMS) is a cloud-based backend system managed by the company which is operating the charging station.

  • A Mobile Application that enables the end-users in locating the nearest charging stations for reserving a charging slot and for payments. Digital infrastructure availability in the form of charging location finders, online charging reservation platforms, IoT infrastructure for multiple cars, and online payment platforms completes the value chain of charging infrastructure efficiently.

Encouraging numbers from Tenders/EOIs

The DHI has sanctioned 3,397 EV charging stations under the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles India (FAME II) scheme. Of this, the DHI has approved setting up of 2,636 EV charging stations – 1,003 slow charging and 1,633 fast-charging across 24 states and union territories of India. Maharashtra has been allotted the highest number (317).

Substantial numbers from plans of leading players

Source: JMK Research

JMK Research expects that in the coming 18 months, the total number of charging stations to be established would be somewhere around 7,000. Of this, REIL and EESL would account for 50 percent of the market share. This would be followed by some experienced private players: Tata Motors, Fortum, and Volttic.

Centre aims to set up 22,000 EV chargers at petrol pumps

Oil companies such as the IOCL and BPL have the pledge to use their outlets for setting up 17,000 charging centres in the coming few years. For fast-tracking the adoption of electric vehicles in the country, the Centre is planning to set up 70,000 EV chargers across the country. The Centre said that work is already underway for the installation of these EV charging stations at various petrol pumps across India.

The Minister of Heavy Industries, Mahendra Nath Pandey claimed that the first such charging stations for electric vehicles would also be set up at highways. As per the Ministry of Power’s guidelines, there should be one EV for every 25 km on both sides of a highway. The minister also said that at least one EV charging station would be set up in a grid of 3km by 3km for the cities.

Further, the Centre has instructed the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to develop a prototype for fast charging of electric vehicles as a part of the FAME II scheme. Various departments are working together for the implementation of FAME India.

The Phase II of FAME India is also being implemented for five years with a total budget support of 10,000 crores. Under the FAME Indian scheme, INR 1,000 crores have been allocated for the development of charging infrastructure. The Centre is also working on the production of lithium batteries in the country to make the country self-sufficient. A production-linked incentive scheme of 18,100 crores has been planned for the purpose.

Further, the 2022 budget is making a massive push towards mainstreaming electric mobility. Apart from boosting the charging infrastructure, the Indian budget 2022 provides for special mobility zones for EVs, battery swapping policy and use of clean tech in public transport, and more. These programs indicate the government’s commitment to growing the EV market.

The government’s battery swapping policy would further push the use of EV adoption in the country. Considering the space constraint in urban areas for setting up charging stations, a battery swapping policy would be brought out and formulated. The Finance Minister in her budget stated that the private sector would be given a boost to set up sustainable business models for energy or battery service and this would improve the efficiency in the EV ecosystem.


Evolving EV Charging Infrastructure in India – A Report by JMK Research & Analysis

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: A Guide for Discom Readiness