The Ministry of Power (MoP) released the “Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles – Revised Consolidated Guidelines and Standards” on January 14, 2022. These guidelines and standards supersede the revised “Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles – Guidelines and Standards” issued by the MoP on October 1, 2019 and the amendments that were released on July 8, 2020. Renewable Watch provides a summary of the key points from the revised guidelines and the way forward…
Licensing: The key provision is that electric owners can now charge their vehicles at their residence/offices using their existing electricity connections. In addition, any individual/entity is free to set up public charging stations without the requirement of a licence provided that such stations meet the technical, safety and as well as performance standards and protocols laid down under the guidelines as well as norms/ standards/specifications laid down by the MoP, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) from time to time. By providing for not only the prevailing international charging standards available but also the new Indian charging standards, the guidelines have been made more technology agnostic.
Business model: A revenue sharing model has been mentioned to make charging stations financially viable. To this end, land available with the government/public entities will be provided for the installation of public charging stations to other government/public entities on a revenue sharing basis at a fixed rate of Re 1 per kWh. The rate will be paid to the owner of the land on a quarterly basis. Such agreements may be initially entered into by parties for a period of 10 years. The same model may also be adopted by a public agency for providing land to a private entity. In this case, the public charging stations will be allotted on a bidding basis with the floor price of Re 1 per kWh.
Public charging stations will be required to tie up with at least one online network service provider to enable advance remote/online booking of charging slots. Online information provided to EV owners should include location, types and number of chargers installed/available, and service charges for EV charging.
Implementation timeline: Timelines have been prescribed as per the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. Public charging stations need to be provided connections within seven days in metro cities, 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas. Distribution licensees will have to provide the new connection or modify an existing connection within these timelines.
Tariff: The tariffs for the supply of electricity to public charging stations will be a single-part tariff that will not exceed the average cost of supply till March 31, 2025. The same tariff will be applicable for battery charging stations. For domestic charging, the tariff for domestic consumption will be applicable. The state governments will fix the ceiling of service charges for charging stations.
Open access power procurement: Obtaining electricity via the open access route is allowed and any public charging station/chain of charging stations may obtain electricity from any generation company through this route. Open access will be provided for this purpose within 15 days of receipt of the complete application. For this purpose, surcharge (equal to the current level of cross-subsidy, which is not more than 20 per cent), transmission charges and wheeling charges will be applicable.
Role of BEE: The BEE will be the central nodal agency for the roll-out of public charging infrastructure with other agencies including the CEA providing necessary support. Every state government will nominate a state nodal agency (SNA), the state distribution company being the general preference. The state government may select a central/ state public sector undertaking including urban local bodies and urban/area development authorities as their nodal agency.
The BEE will also have the responsibility to create and maintain a national online database of all the public charging stations in consultation with the SNAs. It will create a web portal/software/mobile application for the database. According to the government, the BEE is preparing an action plan for the installation of public charging stations in nine major cities with a population over 4 million (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat and Pune). As per initial estimates, a total of 3,263 chargers under the business-as-usual scenario, 23,524 under the moderate scenario and 46,397 under the aggressive scenario are being targeted by 2030.
Charging station deployment: The guidelines state that at least one charging station must be available in a grid of 3 km x 3 km, in a bid to remove range anxiety. Furthermore, one charging station must be installed at 25 km intervals on both sides of highways/roads. For long range and heavy duty EVs, there must be at least one fast charging station after every 100 km. These should be set up on each side of the highways/roads, preferably within or alongside the public charging stations.
The guidelines envisage a phase-wise installation of charging stations:
- Phase I (1-3 years): All mega cities with a population of more than 4 million as per the 2011 census, all existing expressways connected to these mega cities and important highways connected with each of these megacities may be covered.
- Phase II (3-5 years): Big cities such as state capitals and union territory headquarters may be covered. In addition, important highways connected with each of these megacities may be covered.
The guidelines have mentioned the list of corridors. These include the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway, Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway, Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, Bengaluru-Mysore Expressway, Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway, Surat-Mumbai Expressway, Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Delhi-Agra NH2 Expressway, Hyderabad ORR expressway, and five connected highways to each megacity.
The way forward
The revised guidelines clarify various points that have been raised by industry stakeholders. In particular, the focus on the open access routes, the revenue sharing model, the creation of an online database, use of the existing electricity connection to charge EVs, and ambitious and clear plans for setting up charging infrastructure across highways and roads in a phased manner have been considered positive developments.
Ambitious targets for setting up EV charging infrastructure across India have become common. In December 2021, the heavy industries minister informed the Rajya Sabha that work was under way to set up charging stations at 22,000 of the 70,000 petrol pumps. According to reports, NITI Aayog has now prepared a draft policy for Indian Railways (IR) to install EV chargers across railway stations. It has recommended that such charging infrastructure can be currently deployed at 123 redeveloped railway stations while all stations can be covered in a phased manner till 2030. The draft policy also recommends the supply of renewable energy to EV charging stations. This will enable IR to become a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. The draft policy is under discussion with the Ministry of Railways.
Going forward, to promote an EV ecosystem in India, focus on promoting the sale of EVs is as important as promoting the charging infrastructure.
In February 2021, the MoP, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the Ministry of Heavy Industries and NITI Aayog launched the “Go Electric” campaign to spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility, EV charging infrastructure, and electric cooking in India. The aim was also to inform potential EV owners about government incentives, generate curiosity in a bid to create demand, discredit misinformation and bring together multiple stakeholders under a single platform. According to a recent government statement, under the Go Electric campaign, SNAs have conducted around 15 roadshows, 35 webinars, and various other awareness activities, including radio jingles, EV carnival, hoardings, pamphlets, and advertisements on electricity bills in multiple states across the country. Such awareness campaigns will indeed be beneficial.
According to NITI Aayog, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India’s recent report titled, “Banking on Electric Vehicles in India”, banks and non-banking financial companies in India have the potential to achieve an EV financing market size of Rs 400 billion by 2025 and Rs 3,700 billion by 2030. However, the progress in retail finance for EVs has been limited.
According to the report, electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and commercial four-wheelers are early segments to prioritise under priority sector lending. The report also recommends a clear sub-target and penalty mechanism for priority sector lending to renewable energy and EVs. It also suggests recognition of EVs as an infrastructure subsector by the Ministry of Finance and the incorporation of EVs as a separate reporting category under the Reserve Bank of India.