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Status of Charging Infrastructure of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

The Indian government has set its vision to ply 100% Electric Vehicles (EVs) by 2030. As the government intends to boost the use of electric vehicles over its counterparts, conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, the availability of adequate and accessible charging infrastructure is going to be the most crucial aspect to deal with.

Infographic on Charging Infrastructure of Electric Vehicles (EV) in India, Government Scheme , FAME Subsidy
Infographic - Charging Infrastructure in India

India needs 400,000 charging stations by 2026

According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, currently, there are 1,800 charging stations in India as of March 2021. It is estimated that India will require almost 400,000 charging stations by 2026 for 2 million electric vehicles. The Indian electric vehicle market was estimated to be valued at $1,027.9 thousand (INR 7.7 lakhs) in 2019, and it is expected to surpass $13,833.0 thousand (INR 103 crores) by 2025, growing with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.2% between 2019 and 2025. From 2018 to 2019, the total EV sales increased by 32.0%, from around 576,000 units to over 760,000 units.

Range anxiety - the major bottleneck

The soaring numbers of EVs on road not only indicate their acceptance as an alternative to ICE vehicles but also the substantial growth in a short duration of time which is very encouraging for a cleaner future. The rising EV numbers also necessitate critical analysis of the supply and demand gap in the charging infrastructure. The range anxiety still remains to be one of the major bottlenecks towards faster adoption of EVs. This can be immediately and effectively addressed through the employment of widespread charging infrastructure.

However, the installation of charging infrastructure is highly capital intensive. The cost of a single charging station can range from INR 1.25 lakhs to INR 7.5 lakhs, which makes it next to impossible to expect the public to manage the charging of their EVs on their own. Even though many of the automobile makers like TATA offer the provision for installing charging stations near the residence of their EV customers, still the government needs to provide a surplus of the charging infrastructure to overcome the range anxiety of EV users.

Need for a robust charging infrastructure

With a variety of charging systems available (slow AC to DC charging systems), it becomes paramount to assess and install the appropriate type of charging infrastructure as per the demand. The requirement of EV chargers can depend on a variety of factors like location, mode of vehicle, battery and charging characteristic of vehicle, accessibility, catchment area, etc. Two-wheelers have relatively small batteries (2–3 kWh) which can be swapped enabling home and office charging from a standard wall socket, while three-wheelers and four-wheelers have larger batteries (>8 kWh) and come in variations with fixed and removable batteries. For public transport infrastructure like buses, will require dedicated infrastructure in depots as their charging requirement can range from 50 kW to 500 kW. Another issue is the lack of affordable land in dense urban areas. As per the guidelines laid by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA), at Least one charging station is to be available within the grid of 3*3 Km. For all commercial modes of charging EVs, at least one passenger car unit (PCU) should be provided as per minimum specifications laid.

FAME scheme

All such issues related to installation of charging stations and the further proliferation to aid acceleration of EVs on road need to be taken up at priority to boost the transformation of the Indian automobile sector. The Indian government is already providing some financial assistance under its FAME scheme. EV charging stations for Two-wheeler, Three-wheeler and Four-wheelers are eligible for 25% of the capital subsidy on equipment or machinery purchasing. Some state governments like Delhi are also working to provide surplus electric energy to vehicles. Similarly, the Gujarat government announced to provide commercial public EV charging stations will be eligible for 25 percent capital subsidy. The Delhi Government, for instance, has announced that it will install 10,000 charging stations by December 2021. Authored by Aditya Saxena

Edited by Abha Bharti, Kawin Kumaran Infographic by Divine Rizia

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