electric vehicle: India has an EV super app coming: Govt working on one-stop shop for all key info

To accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and reduce fears about the reach of end users, the government is working to launch a master app that will act as a one-stop shop that will provide information about the location and availability of charging stations for vehicles.

State-run Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) is collecting private sector intelligence for the super app, which is expected to go live in the next 4-6 weeks. The app provides information about availability, charger types and charging rates, allowing users to make and change reservations at nearby stations.

Mahua Acharya, CEO of CESL, told ET that the government’s intention is to make a mutually beneficial arrangement for all stakeholders.

“In addition to information about the network of public charging stations, the app will display information shared by OEMs, improving visibility and traffic at private charging stations. Consumers will have peace of mind knowing that they can easily access information and make reservations at nearby stations if they need to charge their vehicles en route,” Acharya added.

According to a report by the government think tank Niti Aayog, there were approximately 1,827 charging stations operational across the country in 2020. The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) has sanctioned the establishment of 2,877 public charging stations at the cost of more than Rs 500 crore in 68 cities across 25 states/UTs in Phase II of FAME, which is rolling out in progress.

According to industry estimates, there are 15,000-20,000 private charging stations in addition to the above, against a requirement of about 400,000 such points in the country.

Acharya said that as most users charge electric vehicles at home or in office complexes, the government is considering setting up a dense network of e-highways to support inter-city travel.

“We need an extensive network of charging stations in strategic locations, which are safe, well lit and well covered, and where users can charge their electric vehicles within an hour,” she said. “This will help reduce battery capacity, make electric vehicles more affordable, reduce range fears and accelerate e-vehicle adoption, even for long-haul travel.”

CESL has therefore designed a service procurement model to involve the private sector in establishing a charging ecosystem.

In this public-private partnership model, CESL will work with companies that have the task of investing in and operating these stations along highways and highways. This allows electric car buyers to take their car for long distances.

Overall, CESL plans to pool demand and set up 10,000 charging stations over the next three years under the FAME II initiative.

Shailesh Chandra, MD,

Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, said charging infrastructure in the early phases is critical to encourage its adoption.

Tata Motors, for its part, wants to complement the efforts of the central and state governments to accelerate faster adoption of electric vehicles through multiple initiatives, including supporting charging infrastructure development and enabling customers with apps to track charging stations.

“This will play a key role in accelerating EV adoption,” Chandra added.

Experts say charging infrastructure is one of the key requirements for EV adoption.

To meet the infrastructure requirements of its customers, Tata Motors has taken a unique approach to leverage the synergies of Tata Group companies to provide EV solutions.

Hemal Thakkar, Director – Transport, Logistics & Mobility,

, said in its recent EV reports that the top 10 cities in FY21 accounted for more than 50% of sales across all segments of electric vehicles. In FY22, however, the dispersion of EVs across segments has increased outside the top 10 cities, which now represent anywhere from 20-30% of EV sales.

Last month, CESL discovered awards for setting up 810 electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) across 16 highways and national highways covering 10,275 kilometers across the country.

The selected corridors include busy routes such as Mumbai-Pune Highway, Ahmedabad-Vadodara Highway, Delhi-Agra Yamuna Highway, Eastern Peripheral Highway, Hyderabad ORR Highway and Agra-Nagpur Highway. These charging stations are expected to be installed in the next 6-8 months.

CESL provides fast DC connectors and installs 590 chargers with a capacity of 50 kW and 220 chargers with a higher capacity of 100 kW. The 50 kW chargers will be available every 25 kilometers and the 100 kW chargers every 100 kilometers.

“For the e-3ws, charging infrastructure is critical as it improves asset utilization and thus the viability of electric tricycles. In the case of e-2Ws, many companies have come up with detachable batteries that help the cause and outside of commercial applications, range concerns are low,” Thakkar added.

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