Electric Vehicle

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

In India, there is growing interest among policymakers to encourage adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) for road transport and phaseout fossil-fuel consuming. Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) driven vehicles in view of three major imperatives – 

  • to reduce petroleum imports and thus, secure the country’s energy supply; 
  • to reduce the carbon footprint of road transport by leveraging higher efficiency of EVs over ICE vehicles and through effective off-take of renewable energy; and 
  • to reduce vehicular emissions of particulate matter, polluting gases and greenhouse gases.

The Government of India launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme in April 2015 (Government of India, 2015). FAME is an incentive scheme that aims to reduce the price of hybrid and electric vehicles to stimulate early adoption of these vehicles and develop a strong domestic market for such vehicle technology (ies). Recently, the Phase-II of the FAME scheme has been announced which has a budgetary provision of ₹100 billion (Government of India, 2019). 

EV charging infrastructure is the backbone of electric mobility & has
been the most contentious issue.

Apart from FAME-II, the Union Budget 2019 makes a strong pitch for private ownership of electric 2-wheelers and electric 4-wheelers by allowing income tax deduction of up to ₹ 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase EVs (Press Information Bureau, 2019). Despite the government’s unambiguous policy signal and considerable financial support, the EV sector is finding itself on a bumpy road. Implementation of electric mobility in India is akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle.

EV charging is undoubtedly a critical piece in this puzzle. EV charging infrastructure which closely binds mobility with the electricity sector is not only revolutionising the transport sector, it has the potential to transform the electricity distribution paradigm. The inter-linkages between electric mobility and electricity grid make the role of power distribution utilities critical. 

“The future of car travel is electric & so it makes perfect sense for us to offer EV Charging to our customers. It’s also a good fit with our commitment to the environment.”

Twinkle Singh (Founder & CEO @Powerlogix)

Additional electricity sales due to EV charging would increase the revenue of a utility. In the process, the Indian automobile industry also aims to become a leading global hub for design, manufacture and export of pure electric vehicles supporting the ‘Make in India’ initiative.” 

“Electric mobility – a potential solution for India”

Getting the Right Charger 

There are range of charger types and speeds available. The right charging mix for each business will depend largely on the average dwell times of visitors. Take, for example, a service station, situated close to a major highway, which attracts EV drivers who urgently need to charge while undertaking a long journey. Dwell times are typically under 30 minutes and charging is the primary objective of EV drivers that visit. While there, drivers want to stretch their legs, perhaps grab a coffee, but otherwise be on their way as quickly as possible. In this scenario, a rapid charger (43kW+) would be the best fit. In another, very different scenario, a shopping centre is visited by EV drivers who typically spend 5-6 hours browsing the various retail outlets. At this destination, charging is a secondary activity for EV drivers, which takes place while they enjoy the facilities on offer. In these circumstances, there is no requirement for urgency and a 7kW charge point could meet the needs of most EV drivers. 

The table options summarize the different charging options available for hosts: 

Trickle Charger (<3kW) Fast Charger (7kW-22kW) Rapid Charger (43kW+) 
Charging from a domestic 3 pin socket. Found in homes, workplaces and public parking lots.Frequently found at highways and major supermarkets. 
Typically adds around 10-15 kms of range per hour. 7kW adds around 30-48 kms of range per hour. 22kW adds around 95- 145 kms of range per hour. A 50kW rapid charger adds around 200-290 kms of range per hour. 
Not suitable for public charging. Suited to destinations with dwell times of more than 45+ mins. Ideal for destinations where dwell times is less than 45 mins. 

Pricing Strategies for Host

There is no one size fits all pricing strategy for EV charger hosts. Businesses can seek to drive customers to their premises by providing charging at no cost, or look to monetize chargers by setting a tariff for usage.

Below is a summary of the main pricing strategies available to EV charger hosts:

Loss Leader Cost Recovery Profit Making 
Charging is provided at no cost to visitors. The host sets a tariff for charger usage, to recoup its investment/and or to cover its electricity costs. The host sets a tariff for usage that over time will exceed the cost of installation and usage. 
Popular with EV drivers. Can build brand loyalty, increase footfall, dwell times and basket spend Makes EV charging more feasible for businesses with smaller budgets. Opens up a new revenue stream for EV charging. 
Popular with many national supermarkets and retails parks. Popular with a car parking lots and some hotels. Best suited to businesses in area where drivers need to charge urgently and will pay a premium. 

EV charging operators and e-mobility service providers must address these six imperatives to sustain outstanding EV charging network performance, enhance customer satisfaction, and improve the bottom line.

  • Monitoring and control
  • Scalability
  • Network monetization
  • Energy management optimization
  • Integration and interoperability
  • Flexibility and agility

Wrapping It Up

Electric vehicles present a great potential for the greening of the transport sector – and our planet. A robust, efficient, flexible, and cost-effective EV charging infrastructure still holds the key to widespread adoption. If your EV charging business is to succeed, ensure your EV charging management platform delivers the above mentioned imperatives.

Author:

Twinkle Singh is an EV enthusiast with 7+ years of engineering experience & the patent holder who founded Powerlogix in 2017. He saw the potential of electric vehicles as the next major mode of transportation and set himself the goal of wiring up India with charge points to facilitate the switch to EV from internal combustion engines. Helping to build & deploy mobility products from scratch to product-market fit and beyond.

Published in Telematics Wire

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