MHI directs OMCs to float 7400 EV charger mega tender
OMCs to float tender by month end.
The Ministry of Heavy Industries has directed Oil marketing companies (OMCs) to float a common tender for over 7,400 EV chargers, amid challenges of erratic functionality of 1,000 plus chargers installed under FAME 2 and supporting the rising EV population. This is expected to be issued on the government's e-procurement portal by this month's end.
Slated to be India's largest tender for the installation of EV chargers, the unified tender will seek to reduce overall acquisition cost for the OMCs, bring uniformity in charging infrastructure, and reduce range anxiety by increasing bandwidth for EV charging at existing fuel stations, say sources.
The Central Government has directed Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) to join hands to establish 7432 both slow and fast charging stations, with the rollout timeline fixed for March 2024 by MHI.
"This will be India's single-largest tender for electric chargers to date, as charging equipment will be standardised with unified specifications. Furthermore, consolidation of orders from oil marketing companies will be able to find better prices for the same charging equipment and achieve scale in their charging rollout plan," an official from the Ministry of Heavy Industries told Autocar Professional.
According to the government official, each charging station in the new tender will be focused on energising the full EV ecosystem in one go, including two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and passenger electric cars.
Of the Rs 800 crore allocated for charging infrastructure, the Ministry of Heavy Industries approved and sanctioned Rs 560 crore as the first installment for the execution and commissioning of upstream infrastructure and charging equipment at respective retail outlets to the OMC's as of March 2023
OMC-wise breakdown of EV chargers
According to the tender breakdown obtained by Autocar Professional, IOCL will install 3,438 chargers, 2,707 of which will have a capacity of 50 to 60 KW, and 731 chargers will have a capacity of 100 to 200 KW.
BPCL will install a total of 2,334 chargers, with 1,739 having a capacity of 50 to 60 KW and 595 having a capacity of 100 to 200 KW.
According to government sources, HPCL plans to install 1,660 chargers, 1,216 of which will be 50 to 60 KW each, and 444 of which will be 100 to 200 KW.
Previously, the Ministry of Heavy Industries approved 2877 EV charging stations under FAME II, and close to 1576 charging stations were approved across 9 Expressways and 16 Highways, the majority of which were found to be inoperable, say people in the know.
The charging gun mix in the tender will include two charging guns of Type-II 1.1 KW AC slow chargers and one Bharat AC001 3.3 KW slow charger appropriate for both two- and three-wheelers for every charging station
Each Passenger Vehicle charging station is expected to include one Bharat DC001 Dual Gun 15 KW slow charger and one 50 KW CCS-II fast charger
Oil companies will almost certainly install these chargers in all metros cities designated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, hilly states across the country, highways, and motorways, say people in the know.
Avanthika Satheesh, Director, Customised Energy Solutions (CES), an India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), a partner agency that meets with MHI regularly, has also confirmed this development.
"We were hopeful of this tender obtaining the green light in September: "I can say that the government is serious about improving charging bandwidth; we are hopeful that we will see the light within this month," Satheesh added.
Experts in the industry are concerned about finding low-cost charging equipment.
Satheesh, who works on emerging technologies such as energy storage, renewable energy, battery manufacturing, EV charging, and green hydrogen, added that domestic charger OEMs will need to scale up quickly to fulfil the need for such large-scale charging equipment.
With low utilisation of EV chargers due to lower EV density, homegrown manufacturers have been wary of scaling up their operations as demand for EV chargers is still catching up, she said.
"However, domestic charging OEMs must still import expensive Power Electronics modules from abroad, which is a key component for an EV charger," She continued.
Chip shortages increased the price of these chargers over the last year; thus, finding very low prices for the chargers will remain a problem when the tender is announced, said other industry analysts.
E-Charging tender to open a bonanza for charging equipment manufacturers
Charging equipment manufacturers will almost certainly benefit from this tender. Autocar Professional discovered that Exicom and Okaya charging solutions are among the prominent names listed on the government E-GEM portal and could participate in the tendering process.
When Autocar Professional reached out to Okaya Charging, the company management said it already has ongoing relationships with IOCL and HPCL for providing the charging station infrastructure and is looking forward to the government e-tendering process.
Anshul Gupta, MD, Okaya EV, told Autocar Professional that the release of a bulk tender for chargers will consolidate, fostering increased participation from Indian companies.
"This would be a significant step forward in our country's electric mobility landscape, and we would like to contribute to this transformative journey, making sustainable mobility accessible and convenient for all," Gupta said.
Offering substantial assistance to the industry
The mega-EV charging tender will also support the viability of the development of public charging infrastructure by supporting the upstream infrastructure (such as distribution transformers, LT & HT cables, AC distribution boxes, circuit breakers and isolators, protection equipment, tubular or PCC mounting structures, fencing, and civil work), which generally cost up to 60% of the overall cost of setting up a public EV charging station.
MHI has also approved financial assistance for setting up the upstream infrastructure of up to 80% upstream infrastructure, which is expected to help ease the industry's concerns regarding asset utilization, said a senior industry leader.
"This will make the installation of charging stations easier by reducing the upfront cost, and the earlier subsidy of 70% on EV supply equipment will continue as before," the senior government officer said.
Mahendra Nath Pandey, Cabinet Minister of MHI, stated that the government's ambitious charging program "will create a robust charging infrastructure network in India that is more accessible to the public."
It contributes to the government's goal of reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable transportation options, as well as the expansion of the Indian automotive industry," Pandey said.
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