By Tushar Chhabhaya
Indian consumers have been contributing to the change by adopting EVs for personal and commercial reasons as an alternative to ICE (internal combustion vehicles). These EV sales now make up 1.1 percent of India’s total automobile sales, as per a report by Indian Venture and Alternate Capital Association (IVCA) in collaboration with EY and IndusLaw.
The penetration of electric vehicles has been steadily increasing and is expected to account for 39 percent of total automotive sales by CY27, which will be a remarkable feat in moving to net-zero emissions by 2070. However, there are several issues on the ground that will slow down the adoption timeline.
One of the most significant challenges that are impeding the growth of the e-mobility sector in India is the lack of electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS).
How do things stand for Indian EVCSs?
At present, there are only 1,742 charging stations in the country as per the IVCA-EY-IndusLaw report. India, with the Centre and many state governments, have been coming out with policies to promote the use of EVs since 2015, but it is only recently that we saw a surge in its popularity. Industry leaders seem to believe that the efforts have borne fruits, but an inefficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure tells a different story.
The e-mobility industry is operating from a position of opportunity to decarbonise the transport sector, and an accessible and robust network of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is an essential prerequisite to achieving this ambitious transition.
Decoding the Bottlenecks
The Indian government wants its population to drive clean, connected, and sustainable vehicles but is struggling to create a comprehensive, collaborative ecosystem. Here are some bottlenecks that are affecting the pace of building electric vehicle charging infrastructure:
Scalability: Setting up charging infrastructure at scale across the country is a daunting proposition that involves reimagining already congested travel corridors and finding fitting, substantial charging spaces to accomplish a decent electric vehicle infrastructure network. The government must pace up such installations and also mandate filling stations to have EV charging stations.
No Clear Roadmap: Achieving long-term goals such as setting up 4 lakh charging stations by 2026 requires a clear roadmap, which is still under development. Right now, the government must provide clear and tight timelines to execute such a transformational plan.
New Policies and Mandates: The government is currently designing new policies and mandates for small and big players in the e-mobility industry, as they currently fall under the same category and that may affect the economies and scale of their operations.
Various enabling policies have been instituted by the Indian government to promote the development of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country. While it is a novel pursuit, the stakeholders must come together to customize the unique Indian transport ecosystem, build capacity and find solutions to support on-ground development.
Big players are keen on picking up the challenge of setting up electric vehicle charging stations. However, efficient and timely implementation of the EV charging infrastructure requires last-mile support from the government.
In India, there is one public EV charging station for 135 electric vehicles in comparison to 1 to 6 in China. We can soon expect to see these numbers shifting significantly as the government takes constructive decisions as part of the EV30@30 campaign – which targets to have at least 30 percent of new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.
The author is the Director of Aarya Automobiles.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or its employees.