Combined charging connector standard to boost charging infrastructure, says Ather’s Swapnil Jain

At the same time, independent charge point operators can establish charging stations, which essentially means that this will completely open up the market for increasing the number of fast charging stations and even slow charging stations across the country.

By Amit Vijay M and Radhika Dave calendar 19 Oct 2023 Views icon3894 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Combined charging connector standard to boost charging infrastructure, says Ather’s Swapnil Jain

A gazette notification on combined charging connector standards is set to boost the EV charging infrastructure in the country. Swapnil Jain, Co-founder of Ather Energy which operates around 1,500 fast charging stations, believes this could quadruple the number of charging stations, with the increased participation of OEMs and other players due to the standardisation.

Ather has developed a BIS-approved charging platform with connectors when implemented in public charging platforms will create interoperability between charging stations.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the National Standard Body of India yesterday approved the country’s first-ever indigenously developed AC and DC Combined Charging connector standard for light electric vehicles. This is also the world's first combined AC and DC charging connector standard for light electric vehicles IS17017 (Part 2 / Sec 7): 2023, and is designed and engineered in India which can become the benchmark globally for LEVs.

Talking about this development,  Jain spoke about how the company built the charger connector standard and how this will enable players in the industry to increase participation. 

Before Ather started building the entire charging connector for two-wheelers, the biggest challenge the industry faced was a lack of a specific connector standard, says the Co-founder of Ather Energy. “So after a lot of deliberation, we realised that there is no existing connector standard which is there for electric two Wheeler, not just 2 wheeler but light electrical vehicles which work at a sub-100 sort of voltage and less than 100 amps of current. There’s no standard that is suitable for this sort of requirement," Jain told Autocar Professional.

A major issue was that the industry was staring at, was that everyone had their own connector standards and everyone putting up their own charging infrastructure, especially with the absence of connector standards, every OEM had to put their own independent station and billing the charging infrastructure into their requirement.

He explained that no third party could come in and set up the infrastructure because everyone had a proprietary protocol and design."But because now you have a standard now, everyone all the OEMs can use the same standard, you can have a very high level of compatibility between two OEMs," Jain said. 

At the same time, independent charge point operators can establish charging stations, which essentially means that this will completely open up the market for increasing the number of fast charging stations and even slow charging stations across the country. 

Another issue he said was that existing standards focused only on charging, but nobody focused on things like authentication or payments which is a very integral part of the charging vehicle and that’s only set out to sort of start designing our own connective standard. We said we don’t want to hold IP on the product. “What we said is there’s no reason we want to hold any IP on this particular product because it is an infrastructure requirement. And that is something that everyone should have access to because that will help people adopt what we have already spent a lot of time developing. So we open source and we started working with multiple OEMs, seeing if they can incorporate similar design in their product as well,” said Jain.

"So, after a lot of work with the committee about a month back, this was finalised that the charging connector, which we had developed is something that suits the Indian needs the most, and helps with all sorts of requirements. Maybe not just two wheeler, but actually, we will, and sort of micro four wheeler as well," Jain said.

Since it can take AC current, it can take DC current, it can take fast charging current, it can take slow charging current, it incorporates all sorts of safety norms, which are required from an international standards perspective. It also  allows for integration of payment system.

"Now that this has been approved, we are starting to work with various ministries and departments to ensure that for all the two-wheeler requirements. it will be this same connector itself. I think that is the next line of work that we have," Swapnil explained. 

 

 

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