The electric vehicle charging ecosystem is gradually maturing. The just amended guidelines by the Union Power Ministry for electric vehicle charging infrastructure envisage public charging stations offering a prepaid feature for service charges, including the time of day rates and solar hour discounts.
Issued earlier this year, the guidelines seek to promote increase in uptake of electric vehicles with the help of affordable charging tariffs. Sayantan Chakraborti, Founder and Managing Director of a startup, goEgoNetwork, adds, “In the long run, a robust, reliable, compliant and fast charging network will fuel sustainable demand and supply of EVs.”
The number of charging stations is set to increase to 100,000 units by 2027 with 1.4 million EVs gliding on the roads, according to a recent research report titled Electrifying Indian Mobility by EY (2022).
The scale comes with corresponding challenges, too. A report by NITI Aayog, Handbook of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Implementation, points out that onwards and upwards electricity grids infrastructure will have to be keep in mind the EV charging loads. DISCOMs have a crucial role in providing electricity connections for EV charging infrastructure, adds the report. Sayantan, too, cautions, “In a commercial setup, the lack of clarity on power load availability in specific circles from the DISCOMs leads to long turnaround times and heavy investments in the power input line setup.”
Apart from the availability of charging stations and their power supply, the ease of charging is also important. Avinash Sharma, CEO and co-founder of ElectriPe, a startup claiming to build India’s largest EV charging platform, says, “Unless, ubiquitous availability of charging and swapping happens at the click of a button similar to ordering food via Swiggy or Zomato, large scale EV adoption won’t happen in India,”
IT solutions are seeking to bridge the gap. Googling the nearest available charging station, searching on the government’s e-AMRIT portal or a simple download of a mobile app is helping commuters meet their requirements.
Chakraborti adds, “Technology has made things simpler. The goME app is a mobile app that allows you to charge your electric vehicle. It is loaded with features like real time status on the availability of charging stations right on the map screen, charging slot reservation and dedicated wallet. The app notifies about charging session status, low balance alert and charge card status.”
Conversation AI, which enables users to interact with applications, too, has an increasingly big a role to play. Rashi Gupta, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Rezo AI, says, “We believe that the EV industry is unlocking an exciting future which will have ConvAI as a fitting choice. The opportunities are huge. The increasing adoption brings a whole new set of customer needs.”