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Counterpoint: Are EV Charging Points At Petrol Bunks A Good Idea?

Counterpoint: Are EV Charging Points At Petrol Bunks A Good Idea?

Govt has suggested that petrol bunks should have EV charging points as well

Space constraints and longer EV charging times as two barriers to this model’s success

Last week, centre govt started work on a new framework for EV charging infrastructure

An Indian Oil Corporation executive has reportedly said that electric vehicle charging points at petrol pumps might prove to be an unsustainable model because of the limited space at petrol pumps and the longer charging times of EVs. The comments come in light of the government’s plans to expand ev infrastructure in the country while utilising its existing network of petrol bunks.  

According to a media report, P Jayadevan, executive director of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Indian Oil Corporation said, “To start with, we will be ready for setting up charging stations though the outlets have to build some electrical works for that. However, will that be a model for charging EVs?

“Given the space constraints in the petrol pumps, it will not be a viable option. Today, fast chargers itself may take about 45 minutes. Slow chargers will take 3-3.5 hours,” he added.

Hinting towards a solution, he further noted that people would usually prefer to charge when the vehicles are idle, which would make parking spots a better location to set up EV charging points. 

Earlier last week, the Indian Government was reported to be implementing a framework for a major battery manufacturing and charging infrastructure that will include the use of petrol stations for EV charging points.

“There is the question of lack of EV charging points across the country. We are looking at how we can get petrol pumps to have charging stations. Once you have a network of charging stations across the country, it will promote the use of electric vehicles,” a senior government official had reportedly said earlier. The government currently has around 60K petrol pumps in the country. 

Indian Govt’s Ongoing EV Push 

In order to ensure greater adaptation of electric vehicles, the central government had launched the second phase of EV policy, FAME in March, with an outlay of INR 10K Cr ($1.4 Bn) to be invested over a period of three years.

Under FAME II, the government proposed to support 10 lakh two-wheelers, 5 lakh three-wheelers, 55K four-wheelers, and 7K buses, that have lithium-ion batteries or newer technology batteries. To aid the electric vehicle infrastructure, it had also proposed to set up 2.7K charging stations, with the availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3Kmx3Km.

Recently last week, the government think-tank NITI Aayog reportedly said that the Ministry of Heavy Industry will soon announce incentives related to electric vehicle infrastructure.

A NITI Aayog executive had said at that time, the EV industry needs to invest in building 50-60 GWh of battery capacity by 2025. Further, the reliance on lithium-ion battery is not necessary and there is a need for the industry to explore alternative in order to de-risk its dependence on one material, he added. He estimated that the industry needs an investment of $40 Bn on battery capacity over the next three years.