India’s e-mobility era has begun

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Electric mobility has entrenched itself as a viable successor to the internal combustion engine vehicles of today and the future of India’s mobility landscape has begun to look increasingly electric, writes N. Mohan.

A BNEF report says that electric vehicles are expected to supply 58% of new passenger car sales by 2040.

This shift, when examined closely, reveals a gamut of driving forces. Increased climate consciousness at both individual and institutional levels, a rise in EV charging infrastructure and falling prices of battery storage have been acting as the drivers for this metamorphosis.

India has been astute about the increased utility of electric vehicles, with both the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) I and II schemes being a testament to that. These schemes are aimed at promoting the adoption of electric vehicles and creating a robust EV charging infrastructure.

Additionally, several ministries and departments have been involved in supporting the electric mobility transition. Furthermore, many states have formulated strategies for transforming their mobility systems and several have formulated or are in the process of formulating their EV policies. They have also set ambitious targets for themselves, with states like Bihar aiming for 100% e-mobility by 2030 and Uttar Pradesh seeking 100% electrification of public transport on green routes along with 100% EV adoption for rickshaws, cabs, etc. in select cities. Haryana has set a target for converting 100% of its buses into e-buses by 2029 and Uttarakhand looks to electrify its entire public transport by 2030. These are just some of the examples, with other states also leading the charge in e-mobility adoption.

It is pertinent to note that the prerequisite for the adoption of EVs is a robust charging infrastructure. Only when consumers see an extensive network of public charging stations will they consider EVs a feasible mobility solution. Thus, a reliable and accessible network of public chargers is imminent. The FAME-II scheme focuses on the establishment of a thriving charging infrastructure and the Ministry of Power has amended the EV guidelines to set a goal for at least one public charging station to be available in a grid of 3 x 3 km2 within cities with a population over 4 million. It has also clarified that EV charging stations will not require a separate licence for electricity transmission, distribution or trading under the Electricity Act 2003.

At Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of EESL with responsibility for driving sector integration, we have been rapidly stimulating e-mobility adoption, by deploying EVs and establishing the requisite charging infrastructure. As of date, more than 1,500 EVs have been deployed across government institutions. Realising the varied need for EV charging, we are establishing a combination of captive and public charging stations, which will be key to driving EV adoption. We have also set up a first of its kind EV Charging Plaza with five chargers, with two different specifications, in a bid to optimise the charging.

Innovation in business models is also a key imperative. For example, at CESL, we tie up with a land partner to install public EV charging stations and have deployed more than 400 such publicly accessible EV charging stations. Herein, we own and operate the charging stations over their lifetime (~10 years), leading to affordable services for the end-consumers. We also utilise low-cost financing and demand aggregation, which enables bulk procurement, leading to the lowering of overall costs. Such innovation is required to build consumer confidence in electric vehicles and to attract private sector investment in the sector.

We are now witnessing a collective push from the governments, OEMs, charging infrastructure providers and financial institutions, along with an increased appetite from the consumer for EV adoption. India is swiftly moving towards creating an extensive network of EV charging. We have also seen a dip in the cost of battery storage, which will play a catalytic role in making EV acquisition affordable. The two and three-wheeler market too has witnessed sharp growth, while there has been major movement in the four wheeled segments, with innovative and viable EVs being launched by OEMs. All of these tailwinds together are building the consumer confidence in EVs and stimulating their widespread adoption.

For more insights on e-mobility and an exclusive interview with N Mohan, visit POWERGEN India and Indian Utility Week’s digital platform https://bit.ly/nmohan.

About the author

N. Mohan heads the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (EVCI) Department at Convergence Energy Services Limited. He is leading the EV penetration in the country through the deployment of reliable Charging Infrastructure.