EESL, the company behind the country’s first electric car tender, is reversing gear. It has decided to start receiving electric cars only after charging stations are in place. The company is ready to float a tender to set up 2,000 charging stations in the country as it prepares to lease electric cars to state government offices.
EESL will receive 500 electric cars from Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) in the first phase of the tender. These cars will be leased to government offices and departments in the national capital region (NCR). “There have been so many learnings in NCR. We thought it won’t take much to set up a charging station as there is a government mandate. But it takes time. Somebody has to approve a place; somebody has to authorise the connection. Now we know and the first focus is on charging stations. Getting the cars and registering them is not a big deal,” said Saurabh Kumar, managing director of the firm.
EESL has set up close to 125 charging stations in the NCR to cater to 500 electric cars. Of these, 90 are AC chargers which can simultaneously charge three vehicles. Thus, in total, EESL now has about 300 charging points and it believes it is sufficient for 500 cars.
The remaining 35 are DC chargers that can quickly do a top-up charge in case there is a need.
EESL said the formula for the government fleet will be to have 90 per cent AC chargers and 10 per cent DC chargers. An AC charger costs about Rs 40,000 while the DC unit comes for Rs 150,000. Companies such as ABB and Siemens, among others, offer charging systems.
The 2,000 new charging stations will be set up in cities across the country, in line with the demand for cars from government offices of the state as well as central governments. “The first phase where we will deploy 500 electric cars in the NCR will be done in a month. Once it is done, we will start the second phase. States such as Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala have shown interest in using electric cars for government offices. We will first set up charging stations,” Kumar said.
The second phase had talked about 9,500 electric cars. But the immediate demand estimate in a few states outside the NCR is at about 3,000 vehicles. “We believe there will be more demand from more states,” Kumar said. Tata Motors had emerged as the lowest bidder in the tender and accordingly can supply up to 70 per cent of the 9,500 cars. M&M can supply the rest. M&M had offered the second-lowest price in the bid but had matched Tata Motors’ price of Rs 1 million (excluding GST). EESL has also written to state governments to facilitate quick registration of electric cars and also waive off registration charges. “This programme will be picked up by most of the states,” Kumar said.