To facilitate the usage of electric vehicles (EV) in the country, the Union Power Minister R.K. Singh has approved the amendments in electric vehicle charging guidelines and specifications.
The revised guidelines and specifications for charging infrastructure will supersede the earlier guidelines issued by the Ministry of Power. In December 2018, Mercom had reported that the Ministry of Power announced guidelines and standards for the development of EV charging infrastructure in the country.
According to Singh, the revised guidelines “are more consumer-friendly as they incorporate several suggestions received from various stakeholders.” Singh has expressed hope that the revised guidelines will encourage faster adoption of electric vehicles in India.
According to the central government, a phase-wise installation of appropriate network of charging infrastructure throughout the country has been envisioned in the guidelines to ensure that at least one charging station will be available in a grid of 3 km x 3 km in the cities and one such station to be set up at every 25 km on both sides of the highways.
The government release states that in the first phase from one to three years, all megacities with a population of over 4 million, and all connected highways, may be considered for coverage, while in the second phase (three to five years) big cities like state capitals, and headquarters of the union territories, may be covered.
To address the matters related to inter-city travel and long-range or heavy-duty electric vehicles like buses and trucks, the central government envisages installing fast-charging stations at every 100 km on each side of the highways.
“Assuming that most of the charging of EVs would take place at homes or at offices where the decision of using fast or slow chargers would rest on the consumers, it has been clarified in the guidelines that private charging at residences or offices will be permitted and DISCOMs (distribution companies) may facilitate the same,” states the statement.
As far as the public charging stations are concerned, the ministry has clarified that setting them up will be a de-licensed activity, and any individual or entity has the freedom to set up these stations. Last year, Mercom had reported about the Ministry of Power’s clarification stating that no license is required to operate EV charging stations in India.
Further, the amended guidelines have also specified the type of chargers of different standards (viz. CCS, CHAdeMO, Type-2 AC, Bharat AC 001), ensuring that the charging station owners have the freedom to install the chargers as per the market requirement.
The guidelines also maintain that any charging station or a chain of charging stations can obtain electricity from any generation company through open access. While the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, is the central nodal agency, a provision for state nodal agency for the respective states has also been provided for in the guidelines.
Moreover, the tariff to be charged by charging stations from domestic consumers, as well as the service charges, have also been covered in the guidelines. For charging stations, it has been provided that the appropriate commission will determine the tariff for the supply of electricity per the policy.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is expected to create and maintain a national online database of all the public charging stations through the DISCOMs.
Earlier this year, the Department of Heavy Industry invited proposals for deploying electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country’s big and smart cities under the government’s FAME program.
Recently, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) had suggested the inclusion of the battery swapping model of charging under the FAME program that is currently under implementation across the country.
Unless policy-making is speeded up for charging stations, it will take years for consumers to be able to use EVs as a primary mode of transportation without range anxiety.
Image credit: Oregon Department of Transportation [CC BY 2.0]
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.