Charging Stations – Requirement of more than 20 lakh on the anvil

India is at the cusp of witnessing the most prominent transition in the automotive space – that of traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) driven market to a new era of EVs. The pace of EV adoption, though slow, is steady. Post witnessing a small dip in sales in FY2021, the EV sales surged more than 200% in FY2022. In fact, FY2022 was the first year that witnessed EV sales accounting for ~3% of the overall vehicles sales in India.

Taking into account the current growth trend, it is estimated that there will be ~5 crore[1] EVs on Indian roads by 2030. E-two wheelers alone will account for ~70% of total EV sales by then on the back of availability of suitable charging options – both home and battery swap; prices of EVs achieving parity with that of ICEs; and their promising use in delivery services as well.

However, to support this humungous growth in EV adoption by 2030, a simultaneous increase in the availability of charging infrastructure, of the order of ~20.5 lakh[2], will be required. Currently, the number of charging stations are too less, of the order of approximately 32[3] EVs per charging station in India.

There has been little movement on establishing charging stations under the FAME schemes and by key industry players as of now. However, the target for 2030 seems achievable considering that the establishment of 5 lakh[4],[5] charging stations is already in the pipeline by various charge point operators as well as oil marketing companies in addition to various centre and state-led initiatives. Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, for instance, have laid down targets for establishing 1,00,000 charging stations each by 2024 and 2026 respectively.

A graphical representation of the number of charging stations required for each of the vehicle categories has been shared below.

Fig. 1: Public and Semi-Public Charging Station (excluding home charging) Requirement in India (FY2030)

Source: JMK Research, Industry Interviews

Note: Public charging stations (PCS)offer 24/7 access to all EV users. They are available in public parking lots, petrol pumps, metro stations, and highways; Semi-public charging stations (SPCS) offer restricted public access to shared charging. Such kind of stations comprise captive charging stations (those set up by OEMs/fleet operators in their own premises), hub charging stations, and charging stations put up at residential complexes, gated communities, shopping malls, hospitals, universities, and government buildings.

In terms of charging requirement, E2Ws will primarily use public charging stations for top-up charging only. E3W drivers will use captive charging stations for their cargo vehicles to a large extent, followed by public charging stations while on the go. In terms of type of charging, India’s EV market currently has limited capabilities for fast-charging EVs. However, going forward, public fast charging, complemented by AC chargers of capacity ranging from 3-22kW at workplaces, shopping malls, and restaurants, will be needed to support the charging infrastructure in India.

Massive steps need to be undertaken for installation of charging stations in India to overcome the chicken and egg problem the EV sector is facing today.

  • All the new home and workplace parking areas should be mandated to have a percentage of overall parking space as EV ready.
  • Even petrol pumps need to be mandated to have atleast one charging station in their premises.
  • Further, policies could consider capping rental costs for public charging stations, making availability of land banks easier and leasing costs slashed, and establishing a charging infrastructure investment facility funded by public money, say partially.
  • Setting up a charging station, being a capital-intensive exercise with no immediate returns, requires financial assistance. Creation of a fund specially curated for Charging Infrastructure is therefore required to lower the initial CAPEX for setting up the business and cover the associated risks. One such instrument is viability gap funding capable of reducing the overall cost of operations of the business.

With the above steps, the charging infrastructure in India will ramp up and with this will ramp up the EV sales in India.

[1] JMK Research & Climate Trends. Accelerating Transport Electrification in India by 2030. July 2022

[2] JMK Research & Climate Trends. Accelerating Transport Electrification in India by 2030. July 2022

[3] EA. Global EV Outlook 2022. May 2022

[4] JMK Research. Q1 2022 EV Update. May 2022

[5] JMK Research. Q4 2021 EV Update. February 2022