India needs to have 46,000 EV charging stations by 2030 to reach the global benchmark. The country should have at least approximately 3,000 new public chargers to fulfil a ‘base scenario’—where there will be one charger for 100 EVs states Alvarez and Marsal India whitepaper. India currently has 2,826 public charging stations that are operational in the country, Nitin Gadkari, the union minister of road transport and highways, says in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. Many big companies have initiated investment in charging stations and the government is also emphasizing the need for charging stations. The charging station is one of the major tussles in EV adoption. In this exclusive story, Anshul Gupta, Managing Director, Okaya Electric Vehicles | Raman Bhatia, Founder & Managing Director, Servotech Power Systems and Anantha Bhargava Gollapalli, Founder & Managing Director, Enercent takes us through the real scenario of charging stations in India.
EV Charging stations in India
EV stations and their infrastructure in India are rapidly growing, yet, not adequate to meet future demand. There is also a serious concern with regards to both standardization of EV chargers and EV vehicles, emphasizes Anantha. This is a gap we aim to bridge by moving towards the use of a common socket or multiple types of sockets in charging stations. Standardization of charging points would simplify charging EVs in public, improve utilisation for charger owners and lead to faster adoption of EVs in India, he adds.
Whereas Anshul feels that the currently EV charging infrastructure is at a nascent stage in the country. In terms of public EV charging infrastructure, there are less than 5,000 public charging stations in India with a concentration in urban areas of a few states only. The availability of an inadequate number of charging stations is a potential roadblock towards achieving healthy electric vehicle penetrations in the country.
He says Okaya EV understands that charging infrastructure will play a critical role in the fast-track adoption of Electric Vehicles in the country. Apart from delivering state-of-the-art EVs, Okaya has already established a domineering position in the battery and inverter segment, while leading India’s EV charging solutions. With its future ambitions of developing vehicles for every segment of the market, including business and delivery solutions in addition to its existing lineup of charging infrastructure, batteries, and EVs, Okaya is well-positioned to become the backbone of India’s EV revolution by providing end-to-end solutions in this sphere.
According to government reports, India currently has a little above 1700 active public EV charging stations. Out of which, metropolitan cities and a few tier-2 cities account for approximately more than half of these charging points. This figure is expected to continue its upward trend, in that to enhance public charging infrastructure, the government has involved several private and public agencies, to iteratively and collaboratively make India’s transition to e-mobility smooth and self-sufficient.
Additionally, a large number of private organisations have ventured into this space to establish EV charging infrastructure to create a charging network grid that’s user-friendly and, at the same time, consumer-focused. The government and other stakeholders are making active efforts, which will result in a rapid expansion of the implementation of public EV charging infrastructure. The first focus is mostly on these big cities, mentions Raman.
GST Rates on Lithium-ion Battery Packs
The GST rates of lithium-ion battery packs have been reduced by the government from 18 percent to 5 percent across the EV industry. The agenda behind this reduction was to reduce the EV price in India. This is the second time the Indian Government has slashed GST rates on batteries. In 2018, the government brought down the GST to 18 percent from 28 percent.
By focusing on the GST rates Raman says, this tax reduction will directly increase the accessibility of electric vehicles for regular customers. Furthermore, as EVs become more affordable, it will support increasing the use of EVs in the nation. The lithium-ion battery, which is the industry standard for electric vehicles, accounts for nearly half of the cost of manufacturing an electric vehicle. The government is considering several strategies to forward its ambitions for green mobility. There is a renewed desire for price parity between batteries and EVs now that the electric mobility ecosystem is receiving more attention and more automakers are entering the market.
This is because the latter will now be taxed at a considerably lower rate than earlier. The far-reaching implication of this decision is that beyond tax rationalisation, the Indian EV charging business may soon succeed in standardising batteries to assure interoperability in this space as well, he adds.
Anshul says the move has come as a huge relief for the sector as the price of lithium-ion battery packs constitutes the major part of the overall price of electric vehicles. It is, therefore, the reduction in GST rates will bring down the price which will boost the sales as well as the EV adoption rate in India. By bringing down the GST rates on lithium-ion battery packs from 18 per cent to five per cent, the Indian Government has in a way encouraged the industry to bring down EV prices which will further boost EV adoption in the country.
This is a positive move by the government and it is highly appreciated by us and the industry. The tax cut will eventually benefit the end customer, making an EV more affordable, and leading to wider adoption, says Anantha.
Challenges & Scopes
As EV adoption increases, the focus is on vehicle-related issues but the issues surrounding the power grid and EV charging are not being considered adequately. We at Enercent believe in energy as a service approach, hence, we plan on designing different business models involving the integration of renewable energy, offline and online energy storage and vehicle-to-grid technologies, adds Anantha.
The lack of sufficient charging infrastructure is one of the major barriers to the poor adoption of EV Vehicles. It’s one of the major challenges faced by the industry currently as many prospective EV consumers remain reluctant to buy electric vehicles citing the reason that they cannot drive electric vehicles for long distances due to the fear of running out of electricity, mentions Anshul.
However, the scenario is changing fast as many charging devices are being made available and are further lined up to appear over the next couple of years. Electric Vehicle charging industry in India has a huge scope as demand for EVs is growing rapidly, but the lack of charging infrastructure is undeniably a real problem straining its growth. As one of the largest suppliers of EV Charging stations in India, Okaya is fully committed to accelerating the transition to electrical vehicles with its ongoing efforts. Okaya’s electric mobility ecosystem portfolio includes highly reliable and robust AC and DC Fast chargers for passenger cars and commercial transport, besides high voltage EV Chargers, Cloud based Central Management Systems, On Board Chargers, DC-DC converters, Motor Control Units and even integrated solutions based on these platforms, says Anshul.
Precisely Okaya EV Chargers come packed with best-in-class features like fast charging time and most importantly high energy density leading to low weight, thereby operating for more kilometres between consecutive charges. Okaya EV Chargers provide noise and pollution-free “first and last” mile connectivity. With Okaya’s growing EV charging footprint, they are all set to become the backbone of e- mobility in India.
Pollution will still be a problem if we switch to electric vehicles but continue to use coal to generate our electricity. Therefore, using renewable energy to produce power would be the proper course of action, feels Raman.
At the same time, electric vehicles should also utilise this source of renewable electricity. However, the challenges surrounding the EV ecosystem include high initial investment for new entrants, a technology that’s still evolving and far from perfect, the roadblock to importing EV components, and lastly, the lack of an informed workforce.
Although India is navigating through these challenges, and vectoring towards a direction that can unlock lucrative whitespaces for optimizing EV solutions. The positive signs centring India’s optimistic EV outlook involve, increased research and development efforts, exploring enhanced manufacturing capabilities, scaling BMS technology, and universalising EV knowhow across the diaspora. All these steps are accelerating India’s push towards green mobility, emphasizes Raman.
Latest Trends and Future Demand
The one trend headlining EV expansion is the increased attention being paid to climate solutions; the ability to simultaneously reduce carbon emissions from internal combustion engines and invest in clean energy transportation has become a widely shared objective for both government and business. Next, technology is moving toward an all-electric society—a future with unlimited energy based on renewable resources without harmful emissions—as a result of this focus on sustainable growth and the conservation of natural resources, shares Raman.
Leading traditional automakers are consistently unveiling new EV models. Further, an increasing number of new EV producers are also entering the market. Lastly, as vehicular communication grows in popularity, prepping for an all-electric future are utility firms. To meet rising demand, utilities must keep ahead of the trend when it comes to electrification, and crucial infrastructure, such as microgrids, will be required along freeways to accommodate electrical charging stations, adds Raman.
Countries around the world have set targets to reduce vehicle emissions by 2030. They have started promoting the sales of EVs and the development of charging infrastructure through subsidies, tariff reductions and other incentives. On the technology front, there is going to be massive demand for denser battery cells and packs with supercharging technology and a larger range at competitive prices, mentions Anantha.
According to Anshul, amid the fast-growing demand for EVs, the industry has embraced a rapid pace of innovation in terms of technology. Revamping the charging infrastructure is the need of the hour and the industry is quickly moving towards fast and ultra-fast chargers. It’s also adopting smart charging and bidirectional charging technologies.
All these emerging charging infrastructure technologies are aimed at making EV charging more convenient for the users. To fastrack EV adoption, Okaya EV is committed to enabling convenient charging infrastructure for consumers all across the country, he adds.
Potential for EV Industry
For achieving 46,000 EV charging stations by 2030, India needs more infrastructure and EV adoption in the country.
With expertise in all three major domains of Batteries, Electronics and Software, Okaya offers Okaya Electric Vehicles with its promise of the right product at the right price. In addition, we also have expertise in swapping stations. Okaya EV is India’s fastest-growing EV 2-wheeler manufacturing company providing the best range of electric scooters in India at an affordable price. Moreover, we are already India’s no. 1 charging station manufacturer and India’s third largest battery manufacturer, shares Anshul.
EV penetration in India is now at 0.8%. India is the world’s largest 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler market, and to add to that, speaking of the commercial vehicle segment, it is among the top five. And taking that into perspective, there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the variety of models, the infrastructure for charging, the growth of the vendor ecosystem, and the provision of financial incentives. The premise on which Servotech’s efforts are centred is that public or shared chargers need to be able to offer near-high-speed charging capabilities around the clock. High-power charging systems may provide vehicles with a nearly fully recharged battery within just a few minutes of charging, making them an excellent choice for drivers who stop at a charging station along a freeway and require a quick high-powered charge, explains Raman.
While emphasizing his product offerings, he says, the wide range of EV charging components from Servotech will enable the widespread installation of high-powered Spark Series AC and Squad Series DC charging stations, which is essential for fostering customer confidence in electric vehicles. Users are set to have updated and real-time access to the entire breadth of these essential components thanks to our ongoing innovation initiatives. Further, Servotech now introducing an innovative business model, the Charge Point Operator (CPO) model, the EV ecosystem will see greater participation from different stakeholders such as franchisees and self-owned charging providers, incentivizing the push to wider EV charging deployment.
The surging price of fuel will ensure manyfold growth of the Indian electric vehicle market in the coming years. Our focus will be on smart contracting and the incorporation of renewable energy sources that will eventually help pass on the benefit to the end user. Therefore proper infrastructure and affordability can make the Indian EV ecosystem one of the biggest industries in the country, concludes Anantha.