EV Charging- current status/ challenges and way forward

EV Charging- current status/ challenges and way forward

By Kunwer Sachdev

Kunwer Sachdev - Entrepreneur and Innovator, Founder - Su Kam Power Systems

Kunwer Sachdev – Entrepreneur and Innovator, Founder – Su Kam Power Systems

India’s interest in adopting clean mobility is now firm and clear. The government of India has taken steps towards encouraging an EV ecosystem in the country through the FAME policies, reduction of GST on EVs, and most recently, the Production Linked Incentives. The idea is to create an economic environment for EV manufacturing and encourage faster adoption of EV mobility in India. India laid out its aim to become the electric vehicle hub of the world by the year 2030. Various initiatives taken by the Central and State governments will help trigger the rapid adoption of EVs.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech this year, announced the government’s intent to create a battery-swapping policy to develop special mobility zones for EVs. The movement towards creating a robust EV infrastructure has begun, and it is rapid. As India embarks on an ambitious journey towards sustainable mobility, robust charging infrastructure will play a critical role. With the growing number of EVs, a robust charging infrastructure be necessary for the future.

Current EV Scenario

India saw its first electric car in 2001, but that failed to create excitement in the market, and no one imagined a future with electric mobility. It took us 20 years to see a paradigm shift in the automobile industry and the state of the environment around the world. The need to preserve the planet, and the sustainability of our community has also led to a policy-level push for alternative options of mobility. There have been multiple initiatives to help reduce emissions and to develop e-mobility in the wake of rapid urbanization.

Charging Infrastructure

With increased EV adoption in the country, there is a slow but steady deployment of the charging infrastructure, a key element of EV. Due to the lack of public charging spaces, there is a lot of travel anxiety amongst EV users and potential customers too. The charging stations are either in personal spaces or at the workplace, and that’s not enough. The government’s commitment to roll out a new EV policy on battery swapping with inter-operable standards is a welcome one. This move is going to help the expansion of charging infrastructure. While we consider this, we must not ignore the thought of mobile charging stations to address the real pain points – what better than fixing the charge wherever you are.

In India, EV charging is based on plug-in charging stations and battery swapping. Plug-in charging stations are being set up to cater to all types of charging requirements. The battery swapping is targeted at two-wheelers and three-wheelers.

Concerns around charging infrastructure ecosystem

Numerous challenges need to be addressed for an ideal charging infrastructure i.e. lack of connector standardization, no common mapping API charging infrastructure across the country, high cost of upgrading power grid to absorb EV charging load, different EV batteries, and charging point technology must be addressed.

Additionally, the development and strengthening of the EV ecosystem will need good, specialized talent, and that at the moment does not exist. Any new industry to sustain needs skilled people who can handle complex technical, operational, and consumer-related challenges.

Way forward plan

To sum it up, we need a robust charging infrastructure that can support a large scale of charging points. Secondly, there is an opportunity for global investors to collaborate with local suppliers for the rising demand for the charging infrastructure. It is also the time to thoroughly consider developing charging infrastructure based on solar and wind energy for the long-term sustainability as electricity is still based on  fossil fuels.

The India EV growth story is a fascinating one. After all, India is one of the largest populations and economies in the world. To watch the growth of the EV space in India is going to be one of the best experiences for this generation – I mean, we will be witnessing a shift for the future generations and at a scale that no other country has had.

Kunwer Sachdev, an entrepreneur and innovator, Founder – Su-Kam Power System.

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