Government pushes EV charging interoperability

Date: February 20, 2024. — The Indian government is in talks with electric vehicle manufacturers and charging service providers to promote interoperability among different battery charging standards, according to industry sources. The move aims to facilitate the expansion of EV charging infrastructure and promote widespread EV adoption in the country.

Currently, there are multiple charging protocols used by various EV makers, such as the DC-001, the CCS-2, and the CHAdeMO. These protocols differ in terms of voltage, connector type, and communication protocol. This creates challenges for EV users, who may not find compatible charging stations for their vehicles, or may have to pay extra fees for using different chargers.

The Ministry of Power has been holding regular consultations with the EV industry to push for a common charging standard, or at least a minimum level of compatibility among existing standards. However, the government is not planning to mandate a specific protocol, as it may hamper innovation and consumer choice.

The government has also announced a Rs 800 crore subsidy for state-run oil marketing companies to set up 7,432 EV charging stations across the country. The subsidy is offered only for setting up chargers using the CCS protocol, which is widely used for private vehicles and heavy-duty commercial vehicles in India. However, many EVs still use the cheaper DC-001 protocol, which is mostly used for light commercial vehicles.

Industry sources said that the government should also consider easing the rules around power and land usage. They also suggested providing specific subsidies for fast-charging infrastructure, which can reduce the charging time and range anxiety for EV users. They also suggested that the government should encourage spatial planning. Additionally, they recommended data sharing for optimal location and utilization of charging stations.

Interoperability is also an issue with two-wheelers, which make up the majority of EV sales in India. For example, Ola Electric uses the Type-6 standard, whereas Ather Energy employs the Light Electric Combined Charging System (LECCS). According to insiders, the government could also help develop a consistent standard for two-wheeler charges.

The government’s push for interoperability is in line with the global trend, where countries like the US, China, and the EU have adopted or are moving towards a single charging standard for EVs. Interoperability can help lower the cost and complexity of EV charging, and enhance the convenience and confidence of EV users. It can also enable the integration of renewable energy sources and smart grid technologies into the EV ecosystem.

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