EV charging stations business open to individuals

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NEW DELHI: Individuals may soon be able to open public electric vehicle charging stations without applying for licences, though there will be a cap on the tariff they can charge from EV owners.

The government has not set any qualification criteria for opening public charging stations but these will be monitored and have to meet specifications and performance standards set by the power ministry, a senior government official said.

Automakers such as Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors and cab-hailing companies Ola and Uber, besides several state-run companies and startups have shown interest in setting up electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country.

“Setting up public charging stations shall be de-licensed and any individual is free (to set them up) provided the stations meet standards of the power ministry. The person should apply for connectivity and the distribution company is bound to provide connectivity. Obtaining electricity from open access is also permissible,” the official said.

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State electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs) will fix tariffs for electricity supply from distribution companies to the charging stations at a ceiling of 15% over the average cost of supply. The tariff charged by charging stations from electric vehicle owners will also be capped by the state government, he said.

The power ministry early this year issued a notification clarifying that setting up charging stations for electric vehicles will not require a separate licence under the Electricity Act of 2003.

“Service charges of 30-40% over and above notified electricity tariff for electric vehicles charging appear to be a viable business proposition for public charging stations,” said Alekhya Datta, a fellow and area convener of electricity and fuels division at The Energy & Research Institute.

The government official said the policy on electric vehicle charging infrastructure aims to enable faster adoption of EVs and affordable charging infrastructure to the vehicle owners.

“It also targets generation of employment opportunities for small entrepreneurs,” he said.

The government wants to have public charging stations at every three kilometers and has identified nine cities including Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad where it will start pilot projects through some central public sector undertakings.

“The pilot rollout by CPSUs with some subsidy under Faster Adoption Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in (Fame India-II) scheme will help in boosting the demand for electric vehicles,” the official said.

The government has also identified 11 busy highways to set up charging stations at every 25 km. Public sector undertakings in energy sector such as NTPC, Power Grid Corp and Indian Oil Corp are likely to set up these charging stations in the nine cities.





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