Government encourages entrepreneurs to set up EV charging stations

by Shahkar Abidi 27 Sep 2019

Image for representational purpose only.

While the lack of required infrastructure on ground has kept electric vehicle manufacturers skeptical about the fast acceptance of e-mobility among the masses, the government on its part has started offering entrepreneurship development programmes for setting up EV charging station across the length and breadth of the  country.

To encourage entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities in the nascent electric vehicle and allied industry, the government has come out with many initiatives. One of the latest initiative is a two-day certificate course conducted by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), which offers participants to learn the business opportunities around the EV charging stations. The course content includes the technological aspects of the EV stations, types of charging stations, implementation mechanism, tariff rate for electricity supply, solar-powered EV charging stations, connectivity loads, Return of investment (RoI), land leasing, government policies and schemes, among others.

A Mumbai-based MSME official said that the representatives from OEMs, consultants, EV manufactures, government officials contribute in the knowledge sharing sessions. Each participant is charged a fee of Rs 6,000 plus GST for the course. “The future of automobile is electric. However, there is lot of uncertainty regarding setting up of EV charging stations. This entrepreneurship programme  will help in deciphering the confusion around it by  create awareness among the masses.” The ministry’s entrepreneurship development programmes (EDP)s  are being organised regularly to nurture the talent on various aspects of industrial activity required for setting up MSMEs.

India’s EV push
In order to accelerate the development of EV charging stations in every nook and corner of the country, the government is working on allowing individuals to own and operate such charging stations. However, sources said that the individual would have to adhere to conditions set up by the ministry and regulator, including having a cap on the tariff that can be charged from the customer. This is reminiscent of the situation in the US in 1910, where individual fuel suppliers along the highways first fuelled growth in car sales among the masses.

Observers and experts tracking the industry are of the opinion that the move will create a new class of small entrepreneurs in the country as it did in the US over 100 years ago when individuals bought gas from a wholesaler and supplied it along the highways. The Indian government similarly has plans to set up a charging station every 3km, though initially, it will start in bigger cities along the national and state highways.

A recent ICRA report claimed that the battery cost of an electric vehicle, accounting for almost one-third of the total cost, will remain a key determinant in the rate of acceptance of EVs globally. According to industry experts, the EV industry is at a nascent stage in India. It is less than one percent of the total vehicle sales and has the potential to grow over 5 percent in next few years. At present, there are more than 400,000 electric two-wheelers and a few thousand electric cars plying on Indian roads.

Industry volumes have been fluctuating, mostly depending on the incentives offered by the government, added experts. Adoption of EVs has been encouraged in the latest Union Budget with the government promoting investment in battery charging infrastructure, energy storage solutions, smart grids among others. The policies also encourage the people to adopt EVs through incentives.

The latest efforts, if successful, will help in creating a massive  EV charging station infrastructure in the country.