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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | By 2023, there would be a tipping point and a rush for EVs
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Fortum India Pvt Ltd, a leading electric vehicle charging solution provider, started business of electric vehicles charging stations under brand, Fortum Charge & Drive. Today, the company has a network of more than 5000 smart chargers in Nordic countries. In India, the company launched a pilot in October 2017. Since then Fortum Charge & Drive has already made 42 charging points operational in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai sub urban area. Awadhesh Jha, VP-Charge & Drive & Sustainability, Fortum India Pvt Ltd, takes us through EV charging infrastructure in the country and discusses significance of allied infrastructure for better EV penetration.
What are some growth drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) segment? Though the number of EVs are less in India at present, it is growing backed up by government push like making charging infra as service, extending demand side subsidy to end consumers, and having 5 per cent GST on BEV compared to Hybrid/ICE vehicles which ranges from 28 to 50 per cent.
Since the launch of our DC fast charging stations in Hyderabad, we have been observing positive adoption of electric vehicles by customers. We have more than 700 registered users and more than 1000 customers have downloaded our mobile APP. These unmanned smart chargers give freedom to consumer to take control of charging need of their vehicle at the location of their choice, and at time of their convenience without any intrusion from other person.
What are your operation models?
We believe to ‘co-create’ EV market by enabling various charge point operators (they are not our competitor rather they are co-creater) to offer their services to end consumers. Our proven and tested SaaS from Nordic market offers reliability and credibility to our service.
Multiple hardware manufacturers are already integrated, and more are being added continuously. Our service allows network operators to remain in control of their network and charging points, regardless of which hardware manufacturer(s) are in use, and our roaming capability with flexible payment options provide a superior end-user experience. Fortum Charge & Drive offers the only mass-market proven solution for EV charging, as well as a personal commitment to growing charging business.
How good is battery swapping as a solution
We offer battery swapping solution for 3-wheeler in India market. We have run a pilot project of battery swapping for 3-wheelers in and around DLF Mall of India, Noida where 15 Zbees (e-Autos) are operating with 2X 1.5 kwh swappable battery pack.
Three-wheelers are the linchpin of the Indian transport system, offering affordable and accessible transportation to Indian commuters. To create a largescale transition towards electric mobility, there must be a cost-efficient alternative for the operators and drivers of three wheelers. High-quality batteries with sufficient capacity, suffers high initial cost which is one of the major limitation for transition to electric vehicles. Battery swapping offers solution to mitigate this limitation where vehicle cost is reduced by taking out battery from the vehicle, and a battery swapping operator offers the charged battery to operators and drivers of EV as part of operating cost.
Will you be aggressively approaching your target industries as all major automotive players in India are looking ahead to launch their EVs in the market?
According to World Health Organization Report, out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 14 are in India. Not surprisingly, vehicular pollution is one of the major contributors to the deteriorating air quality in the country. In this background, adoption of electric vehicles (EV) has emerged as the most viable option to help curb the emissions from transport sector.
Being one of the important stakeholders of E-mobility – other two being charging infra providers and consumers – OEMs are expected to tap the market. It is therefore not surprising that all major automotive players along with various startup companies are scheduled to launch their EV products in India market.
Start ups in India are poised to make huge contribution towards adoption of EV. Free from any legacy baggage, they are well in position to offer pure electric vehicles which is also evident on road particularly in 2-3 wheeler sector. Traditional OEMs have also pulled up their socks and are readying themselves to hold to their market share. Hyundai has taken the lead by introducing Kona. Electric version of Maruti Electric Cars can be seen on road though in test mode. More than 10 models of electric vehicles are slated for launch in next 12-18 months. Tata Motors have just announced that they will introduce more models on electric variant. Mahindra has promised to launch KUV 100 and SUV 300 with electric power train. Clearly, we can see that Indian EV industry is well prepared to join the bandwagon and offer a pollution free and affordable EV experience to Indian customers. With India poised to become third largest auto market of world, none of the players would like to miss the huge opportunity.
However, the story of e-mobility will not pick up unless consumer finds charging points at public places. A consumer will like to be assured of getting charge at their preferred location, time, and price to get over their range anxiety. This requires a robust, ubiquitous, and friendly charging station network. As charging takes more time than gasoline fueling, consumer would like to find charging station in an interesting place where they would feel happy to spend time while their car gets charged. Also they would like to know on real time basis where and which charging points are free for charging, what is the price of the charge, how secured is their car while it is being charged etc. All these would make her/his charging experience a happy one. We are continuously evaluating the opportunity to offer this experience to consumers.
Have you entered collaborations to set up EV charging infrastructure?
We rolled out our first pilot cloud-based e-vehicle charging station in New Delhi in collaboration with NBCC and then set up a charging station in collaboration with NTPC. Apart from that, we are running two projects in Hyderabad – one with Indian Oil Corporation and the other with Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR). The IOCL Project comprises of setting up of 10 DC Charging points at five retail outlets of IOC in Hyderabad whereas with HMR we have set up 26 DC charging points at 12 locations. Recently, we have partnered with MG Motor to install 50 KW CCS and Chademo DC fast public charging stations for electric vehicles across 10 locations in five cities, the National Capital Region, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, by September 2019. The smart chargers can be accessed by an electric vehicle user, having cars compatible with the CCS and Chademo charging standards by registering with Fortum Charge & Drive India through its mobile app.
Currently, how many charging stations are operational or being planned?
Starting with a pilot of 4 AC Type-2 (22 kw) charging points in October 2017, currently we are operating 42 public charging points in Hyderabad, New Delhi and Mumbai sub-urban areas which makes it the largest public charging point provider in India in private sector. We have observed adoption of EVs in Hyderabad has increased once they saw an initial set of chargers. We are willing to match the adoption of EV in India and depending upon that we would scale back or scale up. We believe, by 2023 there would be a tipping point and when there would be a rush for EVs, we want to be prepared for that. In the meantime, we would like to see how our charging infrastructure operates with different type of cars, with different type of batteries, what are the locational advantages which are there, how is our back-end Cloud system performing so that we are ready for the EV adoption.
What is a revenue model for these charging stations and is it operated with a Smartphone App?
It is pay-per-use or pay-as-you-go model. A customer needs to download our Smartphone App, Fortum Charge & Drive India, from iOS or Play Store and register themselves by giving their email ID and Credit Card/ Debit Card. With the help of Smartpjone App, they can locate the available charging points to reach there, using Google/Apple navigation, connect the charging gun with their car, start the charging and stop the charging when car is charged. Once charging is stopped, payment for the transaction shall get debited from their registered Credit Card/Debit card. A customer can locate charging points, find available/busy points, start and stop charging, carry out the transaction, view history of transaction etc.
With our brand, PlugSurfing, we aggregate the charging points of other charge point operators as well. PlugSurfing is Europe’s leading, independent EMP service provider to EV users by aggregating various charge point operators at one platform. This provides seamless charging experience to EV users as they use only one App and one RFID card to access different charging stations owned by various operators. As one of the first steps, to leverage the expertise in charging space, the Nordic charging network of charge & drive will be available on the PlugSurfing application for access and payment. Post-acquisition of PlugSurfing an EV user in Europe can access to more than 80,000 charging points. This will be a fantastic solution for India which is as diverse as Europe.
Fortum Charge & Drive offers a cloud solution for electric vehicle (EV) charging service providers and infrastructure investors. The cloud-based (SaaS) architecture enables white/grey label alternatives. The Fortum Charge & Drive service is configured to suit a wide array of custom requirements, from back-end administration that allows an operator to see the current status of each charger, control the charging at each station (e.g. start, stop, restart), manage the charging connect and configure chargers, remote monitoring and diagnostics, and price plan administration, to the front-end branding of the consumer mobile app and web portal.
Hybrid And ICE Vehicles
World Health Organization Report
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