By Jyotsna Bhatnagar
Amid the flurry of electric vehicle (EV) launches in the automobile sector, Vadodara-based Charge+Zone, a fast emerging tech-driven EV charging network company, has entered a tie-up with oil and gas behemoth HPCL to set up 500 end-to-end high-speed charging stations across the country over the next one year.
Founder and CEO of Charge+Zone, Kartikey Hariyani, exclusively told FE that the deal would provide a major push to scaling up infrastructure for the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market. As per the terms of the deal, while HPCL would provide the space for setting up the charging stations within their existing petrol pumps, Charge+Zone would pump in the capex of
200 crore with the cost of each charging station pegged at45 lakh. The project is expected to commence by October this year once the company has raised the money required.
“Certain large private equity funds have given us firm commitments and we propose to fund the project through a combination of equity and debt,” Hariyani revealed. This would make Charge+Zone the second largest player in the public high-speed charging network after Tata Power.
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Currently, Charge+Zone has 800 operational charging stations or 1,600 charging points with each charging station consisting of two charge points.
Tata Power is believed to have around 2,300 charging points in 100+ cities covering petrol pumps, metro stations, shopping malls, theatres and highways and is present across all segments of the EV eco-system – public charging, captive charging, home, workplace charging and ultra-rapid chargers for buses. Tata Power, too, entered a tie-up with HPCL around a year ago for setting up charging stations at its outlets but has thus far set up less than 10.
“As in the case of conventional fuel retail outlets, the emerging charging network market has enough space for at least five or six serious players,” Hariyani said.
Given the fact that HPCL owns 21,000 fuel pumps which accounts for 30% of the total pumps in the country, the tie-up with Charge+Zone is expected to provide a tremendous fillip to the EV infrastructure in the country. “The recent spate of EV car launches, with Mercedes-Benz just coming out with its EV car in the luxury segment as well as Mahindra, BYD, Porsche and even Hyundai in various stages of their EV launches, the time is perfect for a project which would provide a big push to creation of infrastructure.