Government may take lead in EV charging business

In order to encourage uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), the government will boost the infrastructure for charging these vehicles at its own cost, as private players are disinclined to invest in the business due to poor revenue visibility. In a meeting chaired by AK Bhalla, secretary of the power ministry, the committee on EV charging infrastructure observed that low penetration of EVs due to lack of sufficient charging infrastructure leads to a “chicken and egg” dilemma, and warrants government intervention.

The committee suggested that the public charging infrastructure be installed with financial support from the FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles) scheme, first in metro cities and on some major highways. Selected CPSUs, discoms, municipal corporations and development authorities can become nodal agencies for its implementation. Other proposals included installation of fast chargers at existing petrol pumps, in line with the global practice. For urban areas, there should be one such station in every 5-7 km, as per availability of land. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) was requested to evaluate safety issues related to such steps and issue relevant guidelines.

The power ministry has recently clarified that no separate licence would be required under the Electricity Act, 2003 to set up EV charging stations as the activity does not fall under the category of ‘transmission, distribution and trading’ of electricity.

Companies such as JSW, NTPC, Tata Power, Fortum and PGCIL have already expressed their interest in foraying into the EV charging stations business.

Source- The Financial Express