Govt allows use of existing power connections to charge EVs

Jan 17, 2022 09:44 AM IST

India has 947,876 registered electric vehicles but only 1,028 public charging stations have been installed throughout the country

NEW DELHI: The government has revised the rules for the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and allowed their owners to charge their EVs using the existing electricity connections at homes or offices. It has also given the go ahead for the allotment of government land to private entities through bidding for setting up public charging stations (PCS).

An electric vehicle charging station in New Delhi. (Mint/File)
An electric vehicle charging station in New Delhi. (Mint/File)

The Union power ministry issued the revised promulgated guidelines and standards on Friday and said the government plans to roll out PCS on a large scale in two phases. The first phase will cover megacities with a population of above 4 million as per the census 2011, expressways, and important highways connected to these mega cities. Big cities such as state capitals, Union Territory headquarters, and important highways connected with these cities will be covered in the second phase.

“...owners may charge their EVs at their residence or offices using their existing electricity connections… The tariff applicable for domestic consumption shall be applicable for domestic charging,” the ministry said in a statement.

As per data with the ministry of road transport and highways, India has 947,876 registered electric vehicles. But only 1,028 PCS have been installed throughout the country so far, according to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

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The revised guidelines are important because, by 2030, India has set a target of 30% EV sales penetration for private cars, 70% for commercial vehicles, 40% for buses, and 80% for two- and three-wheelers. At present, only about 2-3 e-car variants cost below 15 lakh in the country. The cost of two-wheelers and three-wheelers have almost come at par with the existing petrol ones after factoring in the subsidies. Apart from the high cost of EVs, a major cause for the sluggish sale of EVs in the country, other than Delhi, has been the lack of charging infrastructure.

The new rules mention the infrastructure requirement and prescribed standards for installing PCS. “Any individual/entity is free to set up public charging stations without the requirement of a license, provided that such stations meet the technical, safety as well as performance standards and protocols laid down under the guidelines as well as norms/ standards/ specifications laid down by power ministry, BEE and Central Electricity Authority (CEA) from time to time. An exhaustive list of compliance requirements for PCS has also been outlined. These include norms for ‘appropriate’ infrastructure for civil, electrical, and safety requirements.”

The Centre has left it to the state governments to fix the ceiling of service charges to be levied by PCS. This has been allowed because some states have rolled out their EV policies under which they offer subsidies for purchasing an EV and for setting up charging stations.

So far, 14 states have released their EV policies. They include Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar.

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has told Parliament that Uttar Pradesh and Delhi account for 44% of the EVs registered in India.

To make charging stations financially viable, the government has also put in place a revenue-sharing model for the land used for public charging stations. “Land available with the government/public entities shall be provided for installation of PCS to a government/public entity on a revenue-sharing basis at a fixed rate of 1 / kWh (used for charging), which will be paid to the land-owning agency on a quarterly basis. Such revenue-sharing agreement may be initially entered by parties for a period of 10 years. This model may also be adopted by the public land-owning agency for providing the land to a private entity for installation of PCS on bidding basis with a floor price of 1/ kWh,” it said.

The BEE is preparing action plans for the installation of public charging stations for nine major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat, and Pune. “As per the initial estimates, a total of 3263 chargers under a business-as-usual scenario, 23,524 chargers under the moderate scenario, and 46,397 under aggressive scenario are being targeted for installation of PCS in these cities by 2030,” a power ministry official said.

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    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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