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Imagine walking into a restaurant not just for its food but also its special offering that includes a charging point for e-vehicles. Not just this, the vehicle is running low on battery and a cloud-based operating system tells you how much further it will go. Without pressing the panic button, the vehicle can be booked at the nearest charging station, so that you don’t have to queue up. A beginning towards this ecosystem was made on Wednesday with the setting up of a charging station for e-vehicles, especially the ones procured by the government, in Delhi’s New Moti Bagh area. Over the next 12-18 months, Finnish government-owned power utility Fortum will set up 150 such charging stations in a tie-up with National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), a real estate and project management company that has redeveloped government and public sector properties. NBCC and Fortum Oyj have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to put up charging infra. Fortum Oyj is a clean energy firm, with 50.8 per cent Finnish government ownership. The MoU will cover all major activities in the value chain, from planning and designing to making investments and operating the infra using a cloud-based system. As a first step, Fortum has installed one 22 kilowatt AC charger on a pilot basis in the New Moti Bagh colony maintained by NBCC. According to Sanjay Aggarwal, managing director, Fortum India, India is the first country outside Europe for the company’s Charge & Drive offering. “The plans include developing charging infra along with the cloud-based system (software as a service, or SaaS),” he said. Another government agency, Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), is procuring vehicles for the Union government’s captive use. EESL on Wednesday said it had finalised procurement terms for 10,000 e-vehicles to be supplied by Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M). The first phase of procurement of 500 units starts next month. The purchase orders for supply of 9,500 e-vehicles in Phase II will be issued on completion of Phase I deliveries. M&M has matched the Tata bid price of ~10.16 lakh per vehicle, exclusive of the goods and services tax (GST), in competitive bidding.
The vehicle will be provided to EESL for ~11.2 lakh, which will be inclusive of GST and a five-year warranty. The Indian government is planning to have only e-vehicles by 2030. Currently, India has about 6,000 e-cars operational, but all of these are charged individually for captive use. “Current regulations allow captive charging since electricity is sold only by licenced distribution companies (discoms),” said Saurabh Kumar, managing director, EESL. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has come out with draft regulations on allowing charging stations through tie-ups with power discoms. Kumar said there was a need for providing additional distribution infra since charging of vehicles would be an additional load. Aggarwal said the power procurement for New Moti Bagh was the responsibility of NBCC. New Delhi Municipal Corporation is the power discom for the New Moti Bagh area. “Charging stations are not really a utility (discom) play. They are run by service providers,” said Aggarwal. The charger installed is equipped with Open Charge Point Protocol 1.5 and a General Packet Radio Service, or GPRS, communication system. It has two charging points, which will enable two cars to be charged at the same time. The charging station can be operated by radio-frequency identification (RFID) or a mobile app using the Fortum cloud system. It also has the ability to be operated remotely. Tying up with restaurants and malls are done under Fortum’s Charge & Drive programme. RFID tags in vehicles will be connected to Fortum’s global cloud operating system. Fortum Charge & Drive has a network of 1,480 smart chargers in Europe, out of which 500 are DC quick chargers. But since cars in India are currently equipped with AC chargers, which are slower, it could take five to six hours for one vehicle to charge fully. Aggarwal said in countries like Norway, charging through DC system takes as less as 30 minutes.