How Mahindra Electric Has Emerged As A Frontrunner In Building Infrastructure For EV

Mahindra Electric Has Emerged As A Frontrunner In Building Infrastructure For EV Market

India is currently experiencing a large requirement for the use of electric vehicles. The government of India is providing an impetus to electric vehicles and has announced a policies for the rollout of electric vehicles charging stations in India, to encourage the usage of electric vehicles.

According to a survey, about 87% of Indian drivers and vehicle owners would buy an electric vehicle, if that helped reduce air pollution. Karnataka has claimed to convert 50% of Bengaluru’s govt transport into electric vehicles by 2019. The Delhi government has allotted ₹100 crore to the state electric vehicle fund.

Mahindra Electric’s Foray In EV

India’s prominent electric vehicle maker Mahindra Electric last year had said it still stands by the commitment of cleaner vehicles that it had made. This commitment has investing ver $130-140 million or Rs 1,000 crore in the next three years. The funds will be used for the expansion of its Bengaluru plant, a new R&D centre for EVs. It also includes setting up of a battery manufacturing facility in Chakan, Maharashtra to support the rollout of its electric KUV mid-2019 and electric version of new Sub-4 metre SUV based on SsangYong Tivoli platform in mid-2020.

The company also has electric three wheeler launched last year and had recently expanded its Bangalore plant. Mahindra is receiving a momentum in its sales in its electric vehicle business. The company is likely to see two to three-fold jump in volumes and it is likely to be in the range of 10,000 to 12,000 units per annum of three and four wheelers. Mahindra is already planning for a capacity of 70,000 units by 2020.

Government Efforts

The Indian government is also providing a lot of promotion of electric vehicles. It has announced a policy for the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in December, 2018. The electric mobility charging stations, according to the government, will first be rolled out in cities with a population of greater than 4 million residents i.e. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat and Pune. The Indian government has already recently announced additional benefits to electric car owners such as special green number plates.

One of the very advantageous announcements of the government is that the charging stations will be a de-licensed activity, thereby making these charging stations to be emerged rapidly. There is also going to be a free electricity for the vehicles from any power company through the open access system. It will also be given priority for an electric connection by the distributing agency. Current fuel filling stations will be given priority and will be encouraged to set up these electric car charging stations. The circular also said that every charging station will have to have a minimum of three fast chargers, one Combined Charging System (CSS) style plug, one CHAdeMO – CHArge de MOve” which is equivalent to “move using charge” and one Type-2 AC fast charger. While the first two plus will have to have a minimum output of 50kW and 200-1000 volts, the Ty-2 plug will have to be a minimum of 22kW and have 380-480 volts. In addition, the charging station will also compulsorily have two slow/moderate charge points, one with a Bharat DC-001 connection with 15 kW and 72-22 volts and the other, a Bharat AC-001 with 10 kW and 230 volts.

The government has also recognised key corridors that will have electric charging stations for both smaller private vehicles and larger commercial vehicles. These include the expressways between Mumbai-Pune, Ahmedabad-Vadodra, Delhi-Agra (Yamuna Exp.), Surat-Mumbai, Agra-Lucknow, Delhi-Agra (NH2) and the Eastern Peripheral Expressway. Other major roads include the Hyderabad Outer Ring Road, Delhi-Jaipur highway, Bengaluru-Mysore highway and 5 connected highways to each megacity.

This year in February, the government issued a set of guidelines to set up charging stations for electric vehicles across the country, outlining ways to build such fuelling points every 25 km. It expects 25 percent of the total vehicles on roads will be electric vehicles by 2030, necessitating to erect robust electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the country. Amendments to the Model Building Byelaws (MBBL) and Urban Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines making provisions for establishing EV charging infrastructure. It also stated that for long range and heavy duty vehicles there should be at least one station on each side of the highway every 100 kilometers. The government has also advocated for charging points in residential areas. It also stated that a public charging stations should be on both sides of the highway on roads on every 25 kilometers.

What Can Be Learnt From Other Countries

Many countries in the world are making efforts to ensure a greater number of electric vehicle usage. Finland is the best example of it. The country encourages its citizens to use electric vehicles by giving them advantageous incentives like less tax, exemptions from tolls and acquisition tax, free parking and gives access to the highways with less traffic. This is why the country has the highest number of Tesla vehicles. The United Kingdom government has a Road to Zero strategy that addresses commercial vehicles, public transport, charging infrastructure and includes a proposal to end the sale of fossil-powered vehicles by 2040. France has a range of incentives in place, including purchase subsidies of up to 6,000 euros for electric and hybrid vehicles. The country also has a diesel scrappage plan that offers up to 4,000 euros for trading in an older diesel vehicle. Plug-in vehicles are also eligible for tax breaks and in some provinces, annual registration fees may be waived.

India will have to rectify a lot of roadblocks in order for such a huge initiative to even be proposed. These roadblocks are the unavailability of enough number of efficient charging stations. It is a major issue apart from the price and the driving range that consumers interested in investing in electric vehicles face. With electric vehicle prices declining and ranges expanding, charging could soon become the top barrier. Regarding the issue of limited range of electric cars, which even with a full charge can run at about 110 kilometers which is not a very good distance, especially considering the scarcity of limited charging stations.

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