Decoding the EV Charging Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Power

With the growing demand and popularity of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the country, there is a growing need for a sound EV for the industry to reach its potential. One of the most important requirements of an EV ecosystem is the creation of a charging network. A Charging network for EVs is analogous to petrol pumps for traditional vehicles wherein one cannot exist without the other. Hence it has become important, to not just install these systems, but to also create certain standards and guidelines around them to ensure safe and proper installation of these stations.

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To aid this, the Ministry of Power released its ‘Revised guidelines and standards for Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles’ on January 14, 2022, with the objective of providing affordable tariffs, generating income opportunities, and enabling faster adoption of EVs and creation of Charging Infrastructure in India. Important points are summarized as below:

No license is required for a charging station

As per these new guidelines, any person/institution will now be able to set up public charging stations without a license. Owners can charge their EVs at their homes/offices using existing electricity connections, and Public Charging Stations (PCS) can be set up by any entity as long as they meet technical, safety, and performance standards established by the Ministry of Power, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Public Charging Station (PCS)

The infrastructure for public EVs will be rolled out in a phased manner as per the new guidelines. For public EV PCSs’, there will be a single component tariff that will not exceed the “Average Cost of Supply” until March 31, 2025, at which point a separate metering system will be developed for them. The installation of the PCSs will be done in two phases:

  • Phase 1 (one to three years): According to the 2011 census, all mega cities with a population of more than 4 million (Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad), all existing expressways connected to these mega cities and important highways connected to each of these mega cities can be taken up for coverage.
  • Phase 2 (three to five years): Big cities like state capitals, headquarters of Union Territories can also be distributed and covered for demonstrative effect. In addition, important highways connected to each of these mega cities can be taken up for coverage.

Further, PCS may seek an electrical connection, and DISCOMS must provide the connection to the EV (PCS) within 7 days in metro cities, 15 days in metropolitan areas, and 30 days in rural regions. PCS may also receive power from any generating company via open access with applicable surcharges- equal to the current levels of cross-subsidy (not more than 20% as per the Tariff Policy Guidelines), transmission charges, and wheeling charges. No other surcharges will be levied except these. Super-fast charging stations designed for 100% in-house/captive usage would be allowed to choose charging characteristics based on the needs of its in-house firm EV.

Location of PCS

At least one station in a 3km x 3km grid; moreover, one station every 25km on both sides of highways/roads. There must be at least one fast-charging station with infrastructure criteria for long-range EVs or heavy-duty EVs. Appointed Central Nodal agency, BEE, will administer the directory of EV charging stations, including the construction of a national online database in conjunction with state nodal organizations.

Revenue sharing model of PCS

In order to address the challenge of making a charging station financially viable during this transition period, the Ministry of Power has suggested a revenue-sharing model for the land used. As per the guidelines, land available with Government/Public entities shall be provided for installation of Public Charging Stations to a Government/Public entity on a revenue-sharing basis at a fixed rate of Rs 1/kWh (used for charging) to be paid to the Land-Owning Agency from such PCS business, payable on a quarterly basis. The Ministry further suggests that such an agreement may be initially entered by parties for a period of 10 years and that the model may also be adopted by the public land-owning agency for providing the land to a private entity for installation of PCSs on a bidding basis with a floor price of Rs 1/kWh.

In all, the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Power are a welcome step. It takes a holistic approach by allowing current owners to seamlessly integrate charging systems with existing infrastructure, while also providing a roadmap for future installations and ensuring that all stakeholders enjoy monetary benefits. If implemented properly, the provisions laid down in the new guidelines will ease project planning for charging companies, increase the use of clean energy at charging stations, improve access to affordable land, and strengthen the viability for businesses and start-ups focussing on this space.

The detailed guidelines can be found here: Click on this link