State-run Energy Efficiency Services(EESL) has scrapped its second tender for procurement of 10,000 electric cars as the industry awaits clarification on specifications for chargers which will allow higher end, luxury automakers to come into the picture. This tender was floated in April and had been on hold after a preliminary pre-bid meeting. A similar tender was floated in August last year, and the rollout of 10,000 cars under the tender was expected to be complete by March 2019.
Saurabh Kumar, managing director at EESL, said that the company has been awaiting clarification from the Department of Science & Technology (DST) to issue the standard norms for charging stations, because of which the tender was first put on hold and now has been scrapped entirely.
“We have been waiting for directions from DST. We had expected a clarity by May this year. The tender cannot be put on hold for so long. We will wait for clarification from DST, get an idea of the specifications and the kind of cars we can accommodate. We will then float the tender afresh,” Kumar told ET.
Interestingly, the tender had set aside 20% share of the total order for higher end and upgraded sedans category, which would allow foreign automakers like Nissan, Hyundai, Kia Motors to drive away with a fair share of the tender. The share of luxury cars could go further up since it would be a good way of aggregating demand, Kumar said. This, however, strictly depends on the final order from DST, he added.
Indian industry, however, seems displeased with the idea. “Luxury cars are not the need of the hour. What is the point of high-end cars running 10-20 kilometres in a day? Plus the price of these cars will go up considerably. It is not the right thing to do when we are only trying to create a market for electric cars in India,” said an industry player on the condition of anonymity.
Presently, DST is deciding between CHAdeMO and Combined Charging System (CCS)—the charging formats promoted by Japanese and European automakers respectively. Another industry executive speaking on the condition of anonymity said that different automakers are lobbying for their preferred charging standards, which is causing the delay in the issuance of the specifications.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will have to build their cars in tandem with the specified charging standards for their vehicle to be compatible with the charging stations. In the previous tender, which was bagged by homegrown automakers Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, the cars were compatible with Bharat EV Charger AC-001 and DC-001 formats.
“CHAdeMO and CCS are for higher end cars. Given the second tender had a share demarcated for luxury cars, it would not have taken off without the charging specs in place,” said an executive of a company providing charging station services for electric cars.
Source- The Economic Times