Apr 05, 2022
Future of EV charging infrastructure in India
Future of EV charging infrastructure in India2022-04-05T12:09:58+00:00

By 2030, India intends for 30 percent of private cars, 70 percent of commercial vehicles, 40 percent of buses, and 80 percent of two-wheelers and three-wheelers to be electric.

Since the start of the year 2007, there has been a constant search for renewable energy resources; and by the end of 2010, the world has been looking for an alternative for eco-friendly resources so that the pollution of the air is reduced, which again can sustain fuel efficiency. When we talk about India, the pollution level in New Delhi has risen to such a level that the schools have been closed; and one of the reasons for the same is the increase in petrol-diesel driven vehicles emitting carbon waste.

In any civilised society, the total ban on the present system cannot be done instantly, and such vehicles cannot be withdrawn and replaced with an alternative in a single phase. It has to be done in a phased manner, and one such entity would be launching electric vehicles to replace petrol-diesel driven vehicles, which decarbonises the transport sector. Hence, the future of EVs seems to be promising in India.

Although electric vehicles will not replace all the petroldiesel-driven vehicles on Indian roads instantly, it would be difficult for any civilised society to drastically change it overnight. The transport system in India will have a super mixture of old and new EV’s with a continuous reduction of oil-fuel-driven vehicles in a phased manner so that the country will one day have EVs as a dominant force. Now, the plan is to have 30 percent of private cars, 70 percent of commercial vehicles, 40 percent of buses, and 80 percent of two wheelers and three-wheelers go electric by 2030.

Global automakers have been copiously juggling with finding new and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels for decades, of which wind and solar have been popular. The need to switch from fuels to other environmentally friendly alternatives is greater than ever. The entire world has now joined forces and pledged to work toward a carbon-neutral world with zero carbon emissions. Electric vehicles would be a key player in helping achieve that goal. This makes the EV industry one of the most exciting, significant, and necessary areas of innovation today. India has already shown its keen interest in being a major part of this automotive paradigm shift. Adding to that, India has already put forward the desire to become the biggest hub for electric vehicles in the future. Industry leaders consider electric cars to be a promising option.

Apart from the environmental benefits, electric cars have much more to offer. Autonomous driving options, personalised smart assistance solutions, and 5G-embedded next-generation technologies are just a few to mention. At a basic level, electric cars offer a very lower operating cost compared to conventional internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles are typically 75–80 percent less expensive in terms of fuel and maintenance, resulting in lower maintenance costs. Consequently, this is an important consideration for many consumers who have high usage. This reality holds true across form factors because it’s materially cheaper to charge a battery compared to refuelling a conventional liquid fuel tank.

Therefore, the growth of EV charging infrastructure in India will be phenomenal.

India has a lot to gain from the widespread adoption of e-mobility. Under the ‘Make in India’ programme, the manufacturing of e-vehicles and their associated components is expected to increase the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP to 25 percent by 2022. On the economic front, large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is projected to help save $60 billion on oil imports by 2030; currently, 82 percent of India’s oil demand is fulfilled by imports. The price of electricity as fuel could fall as low as ₹1.1/km, helping an electric vehicle owner save up to ₹20,000 for every 5,000 km traversed. Finally, electrification will help reduce vehicular emissions, a key contributor to air pollution that causes an average 3 percent GDP loss every year.

EVs carry limited onboard energy in the battery packs, which needs charging from time to time depending upon the battery pack and size. Charging systems are therefore essential for the sustainable operation of EVs at preferred stations. The charging requirement depends not only on the kind of vehicle (two-wheeler, three-wheeler, four-wheeler, and bus) but also on the utility purpose, i.e., passenger or commercial. This target entails simultaneous penetration of charging stations across India, with a major focus on charging infrastructure. The government of India’s plan has been supporting the EV industry through FAME-1 and FAME-2. The industry players too have been quite optimistic and shown an active interest in the overall EV charging ecosystem. While EVs are being worked upon by major OEMs, an ecosystem for the development of chargers, charging stations, and other services is steadily being built. The charging infrastructure is the backbone of electric mobility but is also one of the key perceived barriers to EV adoption in India given its limited availability and long charging times. Hence, sufficient research has to be undertaken to overcome these hurdles and put ourselves on par with the European Union and the USA on the global map.

EV charging is easier and can be done easily at home or at refuelling stations. And this fact may help the EV infrastructure to boost the industry, so let us hope we reach the target set by 2030 and head on to a progressive greener world using renewable energy resources.

The interview was published in Electrical & Power Review