What are the challenges in building EV charging stations in India? 5 Points That Highlights the Real Problems

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India is rapidly transitioning to electric vehicles, but building out the infrastructure for EV charging stations presents several challenges. Learn more about the unique hurdles facing the Indian market and how they can be overcome to ensure successful adoption of EVs.

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India is taking good strides towards a greener future as the development of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure gains momentum. With the government’s commitment to reduce emissions and promote clean energy, EV infrastructure is at the forefront of this mission. This infrastructure consists of EV charging stations, battery swapping facilities, Public Charging facility and other necessary components that will help promote the use of electric vehicles across the country. With this development underway, India is sure to make significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint and developing a sustainable future.

However, there are substantial challenges that the stakeholders will have to face when trying to start an EV charging stations and EV charging infrastructure network. As the EV business in India is still in preliminary stages, there is insufficient local expertise and technical know-how. It is very likely that the project cost of building a EV charging station will be high due to unavailability of skilled technicians and limited access to critical component.

Moreover, the consultation for setting up infrastructure required for EV charging stations would involve multiple stakeholders who might not agree on terms of lease or purchase in a contract for providing electricity to EV charging stations. Apart from these challenges, there could also be some regulatory and legal hurdles that may make it difficult to set up an infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations

Here are some key factors that may hinder the setting up of new EV charging infrastructure in India.

EV charging stations

1. Limited Awareness and Low demand of Electric vehicle

The awareness about Electric vehicle (EV) among the general public in India is relatively low when compared to traditional vehicles Internal Combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This is even though in recent years there has been widespread attention and understanding of EV vehicles in India.

One of the primary reasons for lower EV awareness among Indian consumers is the dominance of conventional (ICE) vehicles in the Indian automotive market for over five decades as for this the general public is more familiar with their driveability, features, performances, maintenance, and refuelling infrastructure. Moreover, longer range anxiety i.e., the fear of running out of charge without access to any charging infrastructure in vicinity, is another factor that affects consumers perception about EVs. limited access to charging points at residential and public places also adds to the problem of lower acceptability among consumers.

Additionally, limited marketing efforts and educational campaigns from both the EVs manufacturers and government have contributed to the lack of awareness and half-baked knowledge among buyers. Due to low awareness and lack of credible information the demand of EVs in India is very low then other countries despite having huge potential.

2. High Capital Expenditure Can be a Deterrent

Setting up EV charging stations in major cities of India will require a significantly huge upfront investment that should include land acquisition, costs for equipment, building electrical grid, constructing premises, hiring certified staff, and acquiring various permissions.

Site preparation for an EV charging Station is an important stage that involves tasks such as setting electrical fittings, building electrical grids, installation of charging equipment and components, and upgrading existing infrastructure like electrical panel upgrades, wiring, and connections to the electrical grids to meet the increased power demand of the charging station.

Apart from the setup cost the other important expense to consider is the ongoing operational costs including electricity bills, rentals, maintenance, repairs, salaries, loans, and customer support etc. These costs when factored in can spike the operational cost required to run the charging station making it a capital-intensive business.

Thus, the high capital expenditure can be a deterrent for potential investors or businesses looking to enter the charging infrastructure market.

3. Land Acquisition and Site Identification

Identifying the right location for EV charging station is a challenge as it must be done strategically and centrally positioned to cater to the target customer base. The EV charging station should be in area with high density of EVs whereas easily visible and accessible to EV owners, such as near major highways, shopping centres, office complexes, or residential areas with a high concentration of EVs. Identifying such prime locations can be challenge due to competition from other businesses owing to limited availability.

Additionally, the cost of acquiring land in a prime location in densely populated areas, commercial spaces, and residential complexes can be price tagged at super premium cost leading to difficulties in finding ideal sites. The cost of land acquisition is single most important factor when considering the overall budget and financial feasibility of the charging station project.

In, India land is priced at a premium un metro like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru etc. Since these cities generally have high number of EVs

4. Business Viability and Revenue Models

Developing sustainable revenue models for charging infrastructure is a challenge in India. And one of the primary obstacles in getting profitability is the current low utilization of charging infrastructure. As the number of EVs on the road is still relatively limited compared to conventional vehicles, charging stations often face underutilization, leading to insufficient revenue generation. This poses a challenge in recovering the initial investment as well covering day-to-day operational costs.

Another challenge is the presence of a standardized pricing model for EV charging. Due uniformity in pricing structures across all charging stations EV charging stations often these charging stations need to rely on providing value-added services to enhance their revenue streams. These additional amenities created to boost customer experience can often leads to inflated cost of daily operations for maintaining and running these services leading to further erosion of profits.

One significant factor is the lack of financial incentives for EV charging station owners. While the government does incentives and subsidies electric vehicle purchases, there is limited support specifically targeted at EV charging infrastructure. This absence of any financial incentives or tax benefits makes it difficult for charging station owners to recoup their investment and cover operational costs, hindering the establishment of a sustainable revenue model.

5. Shortage of Skilled Workforce in the Market

Having trained staff and technicians at an EV charging station is crucial. EV Charging stations need to have trained and certified staffs with understanding of different charging standards as well as the various connector types and charging protocols used in the industry. They also should be trained in handling emergency situations, following safety procedures during installation and maintenance activities, and implementing proper grounding and insulation measures to ensure user safety.

However, there is a glaring shortage of trained personnel in the market, as the industry is still in its nascent stages. This shortage creates a gap between the demand for skilled workers and the availability of suitable workforce. The major reason for such shortfall is that the vocational education in India is yet to catch up with these specific skill requirements of the emerging EV sector.

To address these workforce challenges, concerted efforts are required from industry stakeholders, government bodies, and educational institutions. This includes developing specialized training programs and certifications centres that cater to the needs of EV sector, collaborating with vocational training institutes and universities to integrate EV-related courses into their curriculum, and encouraging partnerships between the public and private sectors to support skill development initiatives.

Who are The Top 5 EV Charging Companies In India

  1. Tata Power EV Charging Solutions: Tata Power is a leading player in the EV charging market in India, offering a wide range of charging solutions for various vehicle types. They have a vast network of charging stations across the country and provide both AC and DC fast charging options.
  2. Ather Energy: Ather Energy, primarily known for its electric scooter manufacturing, also operates its own network of Ather Grid charging stations. These charging stations are strategically placed in cities to cater to Ather Energy’s electric scooter customers, providing convenient and accessible charging options.
  3. Fortum Charge & Drive India: Fortum Charge & Drive is a subsidiary of Fortum, a Finnish clean energy company. They have made significant investments in setting up EV charging infrastructure in India. Fortum Charge & Drive operates a network of charging stations and offers various charging solutions for electric vehicles.
  4. Exicom Power Solutions: Exicom Power Solutions is a leading provider of advanced energy storage and EV charging solutions in India. They offer a comprehensive range of charging infrastructure solutions, including DC fast chargers and battery swapping stations.
  5. Delta Electronics: Delta Electronics India is a subsidiary of Delta Electronics, a global provider of power and thermal management solutions. Delta Electronics India is actively involved in the EV charging infrastructure market in India. They offer a range of EV charging solutions, including AC chargers, DC fast chargers, and wall-mounted chargers.
  6. ABB India is a subsidiary of ABB Group, a global technology company specializing in electrification, automation, and digitalization. ABB India plays a prominent role in the EV charging infrastructure market in India. They provide a wide range of charging solutions and services to support the growing adoption of electric vehicles.

Conclusion

Addressing these challenges requires collaborative efforts from various stakeholders, including government bodies, utility companies, private investors, and industry players. Creating an enabling regulatory environment, promoting awareness, offering financial incentives, and fostering partnerships can help overcome these obstacles and accelerate the growth of EV charging infrastructure in India.

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