While car makers are firming up plans to roll out electric vehicles in India, not many players are volunteering to set-up the charging infrastructure. Tata Power is one of the few that has decided to test the market. It has started setting up charging stations at prominent locations in Mumbai and Delhi. It plans to keep the chargers free to use and promises that more and more charging stations will be set up at key locations in these cities at a fast rate. Manasvi Manas Sharma, head – strategy (mumbai operations), Tata Power, says the company is not focusing on any returns for now. He added, “We are in a stage where we want to promote electric vehicles. We are facilitating that by setting up charging infra around the city. Pricing and payment focus is not much, just facilitating and promoting.”
The company, which is the first to have set-up a charging station in Mumbai, in Vikhroli, in August last year, on Monday, added chargers at two more locations (at Palladium Mall in Lower Parel and Phoenix Marketcity at Kurla) in Mumbai. The company has set-up a mix of fast and regular chargers at the locations. The company presently has charging stations at five locations in Delhi installed by its subsidiary Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDD). TPDD had earlier told Fe that it plans to set up a 1,000 charging stations across New Delhi.
According to Sharma, this is only the beginning. He said that very soon, more charging stations would come up across Mumbai. “We have six charging points at three different locations now. Two more locations will be coming up very shortly, one in BKC and the other on the Western Express highway,” said Sharma. Electric vehicle adoption in the country has been very slow. While many new two-wheeler players like Hero Electric have come up with electric scooters in the country, most major car makers have shied away from launching electric vehicles owing to the lack of charging infrastructure.
Presently, Mumbai-based Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is the only car maker to have commercially launched electric cars in the country. However, the company has sold less than 1,000 units in the current fiscal. Tata Motors has also entered the segment by suppling electric cars to an arm of the ministry of power.
Most prospective buyers today avoid buying EVs for fear that they may run out of charge with no stations nearby. Tata Power plans to tap this opportunity. Sharma said, “We want to cater to the EV community, which has the range anxiety. We want to be in that space and expand.”