New Delhi: Unable to decide between Japanese and Chinese charging technologies for electric vehicles, the government has asked public charging stations to install both platforms, ending months of ambiguity that delayed electric vehicles procurement by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL).
The move, however, is likely to substantially raise costs of charging stations. The plugs and communication protocols to link batteries to chargers need to be limited to keep costs down, experts said.
India has been trying to work out a standard charging format amid strong lobbies on each end. Lack of clarity on charging protocol has to an extent derailed the electric vehicles programme that planned to aggregate demand and purchase about 20,000 cars over the next couple of years.
EESL, which is tasked with the procurement of electric cars for use by government departments across the country, withdrew its tender for purchasing 10,000 electric sedans earlier this year. The revised standards are expected to allow foreign automakers to come into the Indian market.
“If the guidelines open up all types of charging specifications, I think that is really the way to go. This will really encourage manufacturers to come with higher range cars because obviously, nobody is going to bring cars which are already present in India,” said Saurabh Kumar, managing director at EESL.
The tender which by EESL called back had a provision for 20% of the 10,000 cars to be in the luxury cars category. With only Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra manufacturing basic electric sedans in the country, this would have allowed foreign automakers like Nissan, Kia Motors to participate in the tender.
Current international standards used by most vehicle manufacturers internationally are CCS and CHAde-MO. Hence public charging stations shall have, one or more electric kiosks/boards with installation of all the charger models, said the guidelines issued by the power ministry on Friday.
The guidelines specify technical parameters for slow and fast varieties of CCS, CHAdeMO and Bharat platforms. CHAdeMO is a charging platform used by Japanese car makers like Suzuki and Toyota, while Combined Charging System (CCS) is promoted by 15 out of 20 major OEMs across the globe.
Residential and captive charging infrastructure for internal use for a company’s own/leased fleet will not be required to install all type of chargers, the guideline have said.
Alekhya Datta, fellow and area convenor electricity and fuels division, at The Energy & Research Institute, said public charging infrastructure should be market driven depending upon vehicles that are coming up in India.
“Mandating both CCS and CHAde-MO will unnecessarily increase infrastructure cost, and most of the top vehicle original equipment manufacturers have agreed to support CCS for fast charging option. As far as Bharat Chargers are concerned, these are temporary measures and not a globally accepted standard,” he said.
The guidelines require one charging station to be set up every three km in cities and every 25 km on both sides of highways. The tariff for supply of electricity to electric vehicle public charging station shall not be more than the average cost of supply plus 15%, the guidelines said. The states will fix ceiling on service charges of the public charging stations.
The power ministry early this year issued a notification clarifying that setting up charging stations for electric vehicles will not require a separate licence under the Electricity Act of 2003.