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EV Chapter 5: Charging Infrastructure

Author: Gaurav Shanker, Managing Partner And Yamini Mishra, Associate |

Article by Business Law Chamber

The EV industry has become one of the attractive segments for investors owing to the increasing sales of EVs all over the world. As the EV industry is growing, India needs approximately 4,00,000 charging stations to meet the requirements of two million EV owners that could optimistically be on roads by the year 2026. A well-established charging infrastructure will also help in faster adoption of EVs in the country.

A Public Charging Station (PCS) is a charging infrastructure where any EV can get its battery recharged. In India, setting up a PCS is a de-licensed activity and any individual/entity is free to set-up a PCS, provided that such stations must comply with all the protocols and technical requirements laid down by the Ministry of Power and Central Electricity Authority.

It is mandatory for PCS to have tie-ups with at least one network service provider for enabling online booking of charging slots by EV owners. Apart from PCS, individuals/ entities can also set up private charging stations at their residences and offices facilitated by distribution companies. Charging stations can also be installed at malls, complexes, restaurants, hotels, etc. for charging of visitor’s EVs which are permitted to enter the premises. Any charging station or a chain of charging stations can obtain electricity from any generation company through open access.

Earlier, charging infrastructure for EVs is governed by the guidelines and standards issued by the Ministry of Power in December, 2018, which were subsequently revised in October, 2019 for ensuring safe, reliable, accessible and affordable charging infrastructure for EVs in India.

As per the 2019 guidelines, all the electric vehicle supply equipment should be type tested by an agency/lab accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories and it is mandatory for every PCS to have an exclusive transformer with all related substation equipment including safety appliances, appropriate civil works, cabling, etc. Further, each PCS shall be located in such a way that there shall be at least one PCS in a grid of 3 km × 3 Km and one charging station at every 25 Km on both sides of roads. The tariff for supply of electricity to PCS will be determined in accordance with the tariff policy issued under section 3 of Electricity Act 2003.

The Central Government along with various State Governments are taking adequate steps for deploying PCS at a faster pace for faster adoption of and EVs and convenience for EV owners to charge their vehicles. Furthermore, the 2019 guidelines has made way for ample business and growth opportunities for the stakeholders in the EV industry. Various oil marketing companies are also expanding their businesses by setting up charging stations for EVs at their oil retail outlets and fuel pumps.