The Indian government plans to develop a master app that allows EV users to check the real-time availability of nearby charging slots. It aims to boost EV adoption and alleviate range anxiety. NITI Aayog held discussions on June 7 to develop the app’s beta version. Reportedly, the App will be funded by the Asian Development Bank and fully operated by the government.
The master app will enable EV users to discover and book slots at the nearest charging stations. This eliminates the need for multiple apps operated by different companies. It will also allow payments through UPI using the app’s integrated wallet without requiring a membership fee.
Presently, charging stations are managed by various companies, each offering its unique app. Users are compelled to download multiple apps to check slot availability, as these apps lack compatibility with one another.
The proposal for a unified app for EV charging was previously suggested by the government-owned Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL). However, sources indicate that the initiative faced challenges in acquiring and consolidating the necessary data, which led to its postponement. CESL was unavailable for comment on the matter.
Currently, the country has 7,013 operating public charging stations, as reported by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Phase II of the FAME India scheme has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for charging infrastructure development, with 80% of the costs being subsidized through the FAME India Phase II initiative.
EV charging station development
India’s public sector oil marketing companies(OMC) are gearing up to establish 7,432 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations nationwide. For this ambitious plan, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has facilitated a significant subsidy transfer of Rs 800 crore to OMCs. The subsidies will come through the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Phase II Scheme.
These new charging stations will greatly enhance the infrastructure for EVs in India. That will complement the existing 6,586 public EV charging stations already in operation.
The upcoming EV charging stations in India will accommodate the needs of electric vehicle owners. It will deploy both fast and slow chargers. This will support their mission of establishing 22,000 EV charging stations nationwide by 2024.
To address concerns about land availability, the charging stations will be located on the premises of existing petrol pumps.
The allocated amount will be disbursed to Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to support the installation and operation of EV charging infrastructure at fuel retail outlets.
The government has also approved the establishment of 2,877 new EV charging stations in 68 cities across 25 states and Union territories. Additionally, under the second phase of the FANE program, 1,576 charging stations will be set up along nine expressways and 16 highways.
Charging technology to be used
According to officials familiar with the matter, the subsidy will specifically be offered for installing Combined Charging System (CCS) – II EV fast chargers. But the support will not be extended to CHArge de MOve (CHAdeMO) chargers.
The difference between CCS and CHAdeMO lies in the types of plugs they utilize. CHAdeMO was initially designed primarily for Japanese car manufacturers. The CCS followed European standards. In India, there are more use cases for CCS chargers.
The decision to prioritize CCS chargers aligns with the trend observed in the United States. In the US, their administration has also preferred CCS charging standards. Although developers are free to set up CHAdeMO fast chargers, they will not be eligible for the government subsidy.
What the Minister for Heavy Industries said
Minister for Heavy Industries, Mahendra Nath Pandey, expressed his optimism about the impact of the EV charging stations on the adoption of electric four-wheelers in India. He emphasized that these fast charging stations will be strategically established nationwide. This will include major cities, highways, and motorways, ensuring convenient access for EV owners.
The minister further highlighted the commitment made by OMCs to set up the charging stations by the end of the fiscal year 2023-24. That highlights their dedication to accelerating the transition towards electric mobility in India.