EESL Tender for 10,000 Electric Vehicles: Lofty Plans But Poor Execution

As you walk into the Shram Shakti Bhavan at Sansad Marg, New Delhi, tucked away in the far right corner of their parking lot you will notice an Exicom D/C Electric Vehicle Charger. When security at the gate are asked about the usage of this station and on the location of the supposedly installed A/C station which could not be seen on site, they very animatedly describe how there was much hullaballoo on the 8th of March regarding the inauguration of the stations, “they clicked a lot of pictures and even parked a car alongside the charging stations but after that they took one away and as for this one nobody has used it, ever.” quoted one of the security officials. This comes as no surprise. The charging station is one of the few charging stations set up by EESL for the first phase of their Electric Vehicle tender, which was won by Tatamotors and Mahindra.

In a statement of intent to move decisively to electric vehicles (by 2030 and subsequently denied as it turns out), EESL (Energy Efficiency Service Limited) launched a worldwide tender to procure 10,000 electric vehicles and 4000 charging points. The tender that was won by Tata motors and Mahindra was launched in two phases; with the first phase of the tender comprising of delivering 500 vehicles to the Delhi Government by the end of 2017.

While the delivery of the cars to EESL, started on 15 January 2018 by both Tatamotors and Mahindra commemorating the “successful launch” of the first phase of the tender. The 500 cars themselves are yet to be deployed by the government. EESL extended the procurement date of the electric vehicles three times from its initial launch date set for 30 November 2017. The reason for the delay and the non-deployment of vehicles is the lack of infrastructure required to support these electric vehicles.

The initial plan to launch 4000 electric chargers was scrapped by EESL in September 2017 due to complaints from the bidders over the lack of specifications for the chargers. To rectify the situation EESL floated another tender in late October to procure 300 charging stations, which was also cancelled. As per the reports the criteria for testing the chargers were not described properly for both the orders. It was in mid-December that Exicom and EVI Technologies won the tender to install 250 electric chargers around the capital for the first phase of the tender. Both suppliers are set to supply 100 A/C chargers each, while Exicom is slated to supply 25 DC Chargers as well. The remaining 25 chargers are yet to be allotted by EESL.

As per the statement released by Exicom, the D/C chargers come with a single vehicle charger and two connector architectures, where connector A can charge at 3.3kW and connector B can charge at 15kW using GB/T 20234.3 connector. Whereas, the A/C Charger supporting BEVC-AC001 specifications has three IEC 60309 outputs of 3.3kW each. The Exicom chargers are set to have Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), which allows the consumer to pay through multiple options (Debit/Credit, BHIM-cashless payment, Bharat QR or UPI compliant mobile payment).

Almost three months after the claims of a successful launch of the first phase of the tender, EESL and the government are yet to show actual physical results. So far with the three known charging points installed by Exicom of the 125 stations they are slatted to install, it is fair to say we still have a long to go before we actually see any government owned Electric Vehicles from this particular initiative on the roads of Delhi.

The entire scheme though commendable raises a lot of unanswered questions. Why was the tender for the electrical chargers not given out before the tender of the electric vehicles? Why were the charger specifications not clear after the first order for the chargers was cancelled? Why was EESL unsure on the necessary steps required to set up an EV charging station, even after receiving government mandate? When will EESL and the Delhi Government actually deploy the electric vehicles from the first phase?

According to Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric, one of the suppliers to the EESL, ” The development of EV ecosystem including charging has resulted into a few preliminary hiccups in getting the ball rolling for EVs. These are being ironed out very quickly, and we are happy that while the delivery and implementation of these vehicles has been phased, the outcome will be worth the initial efforts and actions.”

With EESL and the government steaming ahead with their plans for initiating the second phase of the tender, one can only wait and see how long it will take for the first phase to materialise on the streets of New-Delhi; till then we can only claim to take a wavering step towards a greener future.

 

By: Aishwariya Chauhan

Published on: Mar 19, 2018

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