The Centre has set the ball rolling to tackle one of the primary hurdles hindering electric vehicle (EV) adoption — lack of battery charging stations.
"We will expand and strengthen the e-vehicle ecosystem by supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure," Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while presenting the Interim Budget in the Lok Sabha on 1 February.
Although the specifics are still being finalised, the budget's focus on enhancing charging infrastructure aims to alleviate range anxiety, a significant worry for prospective EV customers.
The limiting factor of batteries on driving range may be addressed by developing an ecosystem of fast-charging or swapping of batteries. This can be achieved by creating requisite infrastructure, possibly even every kilometer, in dense area.
According to a white paper by Alvarez and Marsal, a global professional services firm, released in July 2022, “The global ideal EV/public chargers ratio is also around 6-20 EVs per public charger, whereas, in India, it currently stands at an estimated 135.”
For perspective, based on information provided by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), India boasted a total of 9,113 public electric vehicle charging stations, offering a combined 17,236 charging points as of 31 July 2023. This catered to a total of 28.30 lakh EVs, which means for every 310 electric vehicles in the country, there is one public charging station.
According to the BEE data, Maharashtra has the most EV charging stations in the country — 2,494 followed by Delhi with 1,627 and Karnataka with 753 stations.
The government is already working to accelerate deployment of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country.
In March 2023, the Ministry of Heavy Industries sanctioned Rs 800 crore under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme Phase II to three state-run oil marketing companies — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum — to establish 7,432 public EV charging stations by March 2024.
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