By Akshay Sasikumar
On Indian roads, amidst the loud ruckus of horns, traffic lights, and bustling crowds, a green revolution, driven by climate action, is silently making its presence felt — the steady rise of EV vehicles.
In recent years, India has witnessed a remarkable shift towards sustainable transportation, with electric vehicles (EVs) emerging as the vanguards of this change. As the country strives to reduce its carbon footprint, the need for a robust infrastructure to support EVs has become increasingly apparent. At the heart of this infrastructure lies a critical piece: A good network EV charging stations.
Installing an EV charger requires one to work with multiple stakeholders like government bodies and discoms. One should also be able to find the right configuration of charger depending on the EV owned. And all this for a single charger in a single location. For an EV buyer to feel confident about owning an EV, there needs to be charger installations in multiple locations, that is beyond a single buyer’s control. The limited availability of charging stations, especially in certain regions, contributes to range anxiety, that dissuades buyers from considering EV options while buying a vehicle.
However, the Indian government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme promotes the installation of high-speed charging stations along highways and major routes. Under FAME II, a lot of subsidies were announced that helped EV infrastructure companies to setup charging infrastructure on public roads and highways. The government also created multiple PPP projects which were aimed at improving the existing EV infra in the country. With the adoption of Combined Charging System (CCS), which integrates both AC charging for slower overnight charging and DC fast charging for rapid top-ups during long-distance travel, users are now able to charge at any charging station through their service provider.
Charging for India
Charging infrastructure is pivotal in facilitating the widespread adoption and success of EVs. However, a charging station is only one piece of the entire puzzle. There are a whole host of other pieces need to come together to enable a robust infrastructure. Detailing out some of the important parts below:
- Reliable Infrastructure: Apart from charging stations, Charger Management Software (CMS), payment mechanisms, discovery applications and other backend support is required to ensure reliable access to charging stations. This entire software suite combines to provide stable charging options and knowledge sharing with end consumers.
- Lucrative business models: Hi-Tech EV chargers are highly capital intensive. New business models that allow eMSPs and Enterprises to take EV chargers on lease, as a part of Charging-as-a-Service model. Asset leasing companies that take the cost of the chargers on their books, help the ecosystem by enabling rapid set-up of EV infra without the burden of a huge Capex.
- Innovating through AI and ML: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models are used in charging solutions, making them greener, and smart. These technologies optimize charging patterns, manage energy demands, and enable intelligent grid integration. Solutions that offer AI-driven platform for managing EV charging networks, for example, can help optimize charging processes, predicts demand patterns that can be integrated with energy management systems, thereby empowering EV vehicles with smart, data driven insights.
- Sustainable Infrastructure: The transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy sources requires sustainable infrastructure development. This involves integrating renewable energy generation, energy storage systems, and smart grid technologies to meet the growing demand for charging and create a greener transportation ecosystem. In line with this, solutions that can integrate renewable energy generation, storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure through smart grid solutions, can enable efficient energy management, optimizes the utilization of renewable energy, and promotes sustainable charging practices.
As India accelerates its journey towards sustainable transportation, establishing a robust EV charging infrastructure is a crucial priority. While regulatory hurdles, high upfront costs, range anxiety, and interoperability issues exist, proactive steps are being taken to overcome these obstacles. By embracing this transformative change, India can accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, reduce carbon emissions, and drive towards a cleaner, greener future.
(The author is Mr. Akshay Sasikumar, CEO, 82Volt Technologies, and the views expressed in this article are his own)