In India, electric vehicle space especially 2 wheeler segment is getting most of the popularity. A lot of start-ups are working in this segment e.g. Ather energy, Tork, GoGreenBov, Strom etc. Then there are start-ups operating in electric mobility segment e.g. Yulu, ONN bikes, Bounce etc. for last mile solutions.
While a lot of innovations are happening in this segment, the charging infrastructure is a different story all together. Still there is a lot of confusion that which kind of infrastructure will work best. In addition, you don’t have to enter rural India to find issues in power supply. Just go to the outskirts of a Tier-1 city like Mumbai and you will find that load shedding is a daily occurrence. Electric vehicles cannot reach a full charge in a matter of minutes. At present, even fast charging options on luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron need a minimum of 30-40 minutes to charge the batteries up to 80per cent. No existing charging services firms yet. However, there is a huge interest in this business post the push from NITI Aayog plan.
The Indian electrical and electronics industry is expecting business worth more than Rs two lakh Crore(Yes, you read that right!) from electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the next five years as the automobile industry firms up plans for electrification of passenger cars and public transport.
Worldwide, electric vehicles have two common charging options: Charging stations and swappable batteries. The fixed charging system is made up of a permanent docking system that can be set up in malls, homes and offices. Start-ups and other companies are trying to grab this huge opportunity and investing in R&D to improve the technology. Battery today is increasingly lithium-ion, rather than lead acid, which falls down after eight months of use because it starts draining faster.
Delhi NCR based SmartE already has charging infrastructure for 800 vehicles and is due to expand.
Tata Autocomp Systems signed an MoU with Australia based Tritium to bring 50kW DC fast chargers to the Indian market for all types of EVs. ABB, Sun Mobility and Hero Future Energies are all in advanced stages of setting up their EV infrastructure.
But still a lot of unfulfilled gaps are there. A normal charging station takes around 9-12 months normally for planning, permitting, trenching, foundations, electrical connections etc. At the moment, battery manufacturing companies aren’t based in India, so the supply is almost entirely dependent on import. This is not the ideal situation as it puts us back into the position we are in with petrol and diesel, leaving India vulnerable to international market fluctuations.
What you can do?
For fast charging, we need more electronics and more integration of electrical and electronics to make it possible.
Innovation in E-highways, induction(wireless) charging and solar roadways can offer a lot of opportunities. To make EVs affordable, the batteries will have to be produced in India and be extensively tested to cope with Indian weather conditions. Only then will there be some scope for affordability.
One can work on the lines of Envision Solar Inc., a San Diego based company, has developed Solar powered EV charging station named EV Arc. It’s autonomous because it’s not connected with the grid. It takes only 9-12 minutes to setup anywhere and can be moved to a new location within minutes. Equipped with battery storage it can charge day or night and during a blackout.
Back-up by Government:
As a part of FAME scheme by Government, there is an allocation of close to Rs 1,500 crore for 2019-20, Rs 5,000 crore in 2020-21, and Rs 3,500 crore in 2021-22. Of the total allocation, Rs 1,000 crore has been allocated for setting up charging stations for electric vehicles in India.
How to innovate?
India has to figure out what works for its citizens and make an impact there. Just launching new types of vehicles in the market for any use, will not solve our problems. With innovations, we can have a different country in a decade ahead.
Join us at Bots `N Brains to learn how to innovate and solve India’s problems through innovations.