Written by Arjun Harindranath
As India attempts to reduce its carbon emissions, many are looking towards electric vehicles (EVs) to help tackle the climate crisis. However, more EVs on the road are only a part of the equation. What’s more essential is the overarching charging infrastructure that can sustain an electrified transport sector.
In India there is no universal access to EV charge point operators (CPOs). In Delhi alone there are 78 public charging stations that are owned and operated by different CPOs and accessing them can require up to 10 different apps. Outside Delhi is no better with even more CPOs and charging apps that might be unique to these networks.
This is referred to as the problem of EV roaming and a new report published by The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and EV software startup eDRV has set out the importance of introducing interoperability in India among the various CPOs as a key priority.
Interoperability between EV charging networks would apply like roaming with mobile phone coverage does at the moment. Mobile phones don’t require users to change sim cards as they travel within various networks and it’s hoped that the same freedoms could apply to owners of EVs as well. Roaming already exists in most European countries and it is currently being proposed as a new policy in the US.
However, as welcoming drivers may be to the idea of roaming, implementing interoperability in India will require solutions from players within the policy, business and tech sectors. In order to address the complexity that comes with mediating between these various interests, the CEEW report recommends that a centralised institution on EV charging be established.
“To make chargers more widely accessible – players in the EV charging space must collaborate,” said Meghna Nair, one of the co-authors of the report, “By proactively adopting such collaborations, India can future-proof its charging ecosystem.”
As an important first step, the authors of the report highlighted the importance of open public databases of all public chargers as India takes the plunge towards EV roaming.