Challenges to India’s e-Mobility Goals

Localized modeling of charging infrastructure will tackle uncertainty, reduce cost and enable India to transition into e-mobility.

CIOL Bureau
New Update

The Government of India through its instrumentalities has endeavored to push E-mobility. While the “Ministry of New and Renewable Energy” has augmented R&D in Electric vehicles (EVs), the Department of Heavy Industry launched “National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020” to promote the use of EVs by putting 6 to 7 million of it on road by 2020. NEMMP launched its flagship scheme “FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India)” to achieve that end.


FAME phase I, launched in 2015 had a timeline of two years but was extended till March 2019. On 1st April 2019, FAME Phase II was launched with a corpus of Rs. 10000 Crores. The present article focuses on two paramount obstacles in short-term which India need to overcome - one being the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure and the other being the development of Indigenous standards.

Modeling the Charging Infrastructure Projects

Despite the completion of FAME phase I, even environmentally conscious people are reluctant to buy nationally subsidized EVs as they are not confident if they will conveniently find a charging station. This dilemma in the mind of a prospective buyer of EVs is technically called “range anxiety”. The solution to the range of anxiety is a robust Charging Infrastructure in order to boost customer confidence and convenience.


There are multiple best practices in this regard that need to be contextualized before being deployed in India-

● China constructed a State Grid national fast-charging corridors, which are state-run utility programs. The city government had successfully funded PPPs for pilots in major cities like Shenzhen, Beijing, and others. Niti Ayog too has been inviting proposals for pilots.

● The Netherlands a forerunner in electric mobility consolidated all its programs to offer a “Green Deal” and partnered with businesses on a project-to-project basis which leads to “curbside” chargers being deployed on-demand, which ensured access.


● The U.K. too has curbside stations for residential areas with the government reimbursing 75% of hardware cost of these stations. As part of their Road Investment Strategy, charging infrastructure had been installed every 20 miles on the Highways of England. On similar lines, FAME-II seeks to install charging stations at every 25 k.m. on both sides of the highway connecting major cities.

● In America, the local government played an important role by promoting private players to invest in charging infrastructure via grants for funding public charging stations through the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”.

● The Development Bank of Japan partnered with players like TEPCO, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota Honda to conceptualize “Nippon Charge Service”, a national network of charging stations, now run privately.


● Norway under the Enova Grant scheme calls for targeted projects, quarterly.

● In France, local governments apply for grants.

FAME like other International flagship projects promotes electric mobility through subsidies. The support of State governments has also been garnered in India along with indulging in PPPs.


Privatization of the charging infrastructure in the long term will lead to an atmosphere of innovation and competition which is necessary for an industry in its nascent stage and has worked out well for many countries including Japan.

Developing Indigenous ESVE Standards

There is a sense of uncertainty as there exists on the standard for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (ESVE). It is incumbent upon Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Department of Science and Technology to lay the groundwork for the same.


International Standards

Charging station standard refers to the size and design of the outlet of the charging equipment and the type of current (AC or DC) used by it during charging.  Apart from the standards developed by BIS, charging stations currently comply with some of the International standards including Combined Charging System (CCS), GB/T Chinese standards and the Charge de Move (CHAdeMO).

Road to Indigenous Standards


BIS has set up an ETD (Electro-Technical Division) 51 committee for developing indigenous standards. With participation and consultation from all stakeholders, the standards finalized for India by ETD 51 includes IS: 17017 series of standards and recommends both CCS-2 and CHAdeMO. Additionally, the Department of Heavy Industries had set up a committee which issued Bharat Charger guidelines for both AC and DC chargers that follow the GB/T Chinese standards for E-Buses.

Therefore, all these standards including CCS: 2, CHAdeMO and Bharat Chargers with GB/T  specifications co-exist in India and very soon it is hopeful that Super Chargers shall also be available in the Indian markets when Tesla starts operating in India. Summarily, setting up charging stations in the world’s second most populated nation is a herculean task and lessons must be taken from the international best practices especially the “curbside” charging model and PPP model.

Further, deploying a charging-station in India is currently expensive as licenses need to be sanctioned from China, Japan or others which significantly increase the compliance cost. An indigenous standard coupled with localized modeling of charging infrastructure will tackle uncertainty, reduce cost and enable India to transition into e-mobility.

By Harsh and Pranav, The Dialogue

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