NITI Aayog has directed the Petroleum Ministry to install EV charging infrastructure on 1000 petrol pumps across India
Government’s think-tank, NITI Aayog has asked the Petroleum ministry to help set up electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at 1,000 petrol stations across the country. The industry executives, however, have doubts over the plan and added that any such move will require redesigning of stations and a viable business model.
Easy access to charging facility is key to making EVs popular in India where cities are reeling under the vehicular emissions, prompting the government to think of new ways to create an ecosystem favorable to green vehicles. Joining the global trend, Indian oil marketing companies have also been exploring possibilities of entering the business of EVs. The current order can accelerate their transition.
Change in Design
For EV charging to take off at traditional pumps, companies will need to come up with a viable business model as well a design tweak of filling stations.
The current design allows vehicles to enter from one end of the pump, receive fuel from dispensers and exit within minutes from the other end. Replacing one dispenser or a set of dispensers with electric chargers would stop the free flow of traffic at pumps since charging takes much longer than filling liquid fuel, said Nitin Goyal, treasurer at All India Petroleum Dealers Association. This would inconvenience customers and slow down business.
The turnaround time for a petrol or diesel car refueling is 2-5 minutes, but for electric cars even fast charging would require at least 20 minutes. Slow charging could take much longer. This means fewer customers could be serviced in a day. “Today we don’t know the kind of margin EV charging can offer. But before setting up a charging point, a dealer will evaluate if the business is as profitable as the liquid fuel business,” Goyal said.
Setting up charging stations at fuel pumps could be effective preliminary steps toward popularising EVs, though after a while charging points will proliferate to almost all places that can park a car or bike, Balwinder Singh Canth, former marketing chief at Indian Oil, said.
Published with permission from Saur Energy