There’s been a perceptible change in the manner in which the entire automotive industry has moved towards the use of clean and green energy, supported in its endeavours by both state and society. The government has only last year launched the second phase of its FAME-India scheme (short for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India). The market, on the back of good marketing strategies and just better awareness with regards to the issue of pollution, has witnessed a growing demand for Electric Vehicles (EV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).
However, there is still a large question that looms over the general electric vehicle consumer in the country. Where do I charge my EV in India?
Now, the first thing to understand is that it all depends on the requirements of the batteries installed in your car as well as the charging ports at your disposal. The smallest one available in the market is 3.6kW/7.2kW AC charger. Normal electric vehicle supply units charge at a rate of around 2.5kW to 3kW per hour. This rate should be enough to charge an electric scooter in an hour while for larger vehicles such as 4-wheelers with batteries that have a higher energy density, it could easily take 6-7 hours or more to get the batteries fully charged.
Certain cars such as those by Tesla or the Nissan Leaf come with their own onboard fast AC chargers that charge at a rate of anything in the range of 7.7kW to 22kW. Even the voltage rating at which fast charging is to be carried out differs from EV to EV, with most of the Indian EVs having a voltage rating of 48V/72V (level 1 DC chargers) and some of the global ones such as the Nissan Leaf having ratings of up to 750V or even higher (level 2 DC chargers). It is not very difficult to get a charging station installed at your residence. There are number of companies such as EO Charging that make smart charging stations and electric vehicle supply units, including ones that integrate with your solar-based charging system.
However, you cannot always turn back home every time you wish to recharge the batteries in your EV. And a lack of proper charging infrastructure is perhaps the biggest anxiety that any new EV buyer has. The government, under the second phase of the FAME-India scheme, has approved the building of 2636 public charging stations across the country. Tata Power already has 3 in place and operational in Mumbai and has plans to build many more. There are also a number of ‘community charging’ stations, coming up across the country, a phenomenon captured and supported by initiatives such as PluginIndia. According to them, there are about 257 ‘community charging’ stations across India, with routes such as the ones between Mumbai and Nashik, Mumbai and Pune (up to Mahabaleshwar, Delhi and Jaipur, Bengaluru to Mangaluru, and Chennai to Mahabalipuram (to name a few) being electrified already. With more being added with every passing day, buying an EV in India seems to have become a safe option, and the cool thing to do as well.