With fuel prices rising rapidly and staying high for a prolonged period of time, we can see consumers increasingly opting for electric vehicles (EVs) as an attractive option. With EVs comes the need to have EV charging stations. While the hype and demand for electric vehicles are rising, the charging issues are also increasing. As per the government’s vision for EV in the country, EV charging stations must be installed every three kilometres (kms) in cities and every 25 kms on highways on both sides. India is also constructing an electric expressway from Delhi to Mumbai to improve industrial transportation. But what can be done to charge vehicles at home or at your own workplace?
According to the Government of India, any individual is free to set up a vehicle charging station for their use; however, they need to meet the standards and checklist of the power ministry. So, if you want to install your EV charging station, it helps to know what factors matter in setting up an EV Charging station and things to keep in mind on infrastructure, safety and technology when getting one in place.
How to set up an EV charger?
Installing an EV Charging station at your home, workplace or community requires a number of steps both prior to and during installation. Since Charging stations involve an expense, come in different types and include safety compliance, it is important to keep in mind these steps to ensure an ideal charging setup.
Fix the number of charging stations required
Every property and usage scenario has its own EV charging requirement; be it standalone homes or apartment complexes, small workspaces or business parks. Charging stations also depend on whether they cater to a single user or cater to multiple users. Fixing the exact number of chargers required would help prevent the hassle of waiting too long for a charger in case they are shared.
Research your chargers
EV Chargers are of different types with both AC and DC chargers, and regular (i.e. Level 1) and fast chargers (both Level 2 and 3). The Level 1 charger allows for regular AC charging and takes a longer duration (3-4 hours at least) for a full charge but can be used anywhere with AC power connectivity. They tend to be the most cost effective EV charging solution. Level 2 chargers offer a fast charging for 4-wheelers. Most 2-wheeler fast charging solutions are proprietary to the company and EV two-wheeler users would need to get a fast charger that is compatible specifically with their EV brand. DC rapid chargers (equivalent to Level 3 chargers) are the fastest chargers with charging capacity of above 32KW and going up to 150KW and beyond, allowing 80 percent charging in 15 to 30 min. While DC rapid charging offers the fastest charging option, it is mainly used in commercial locations or public charging stations and not suitable for residential settings.
Buy or lease options
EV Charging is a relatively new activity and technology is evolving rapidly in this area. So, Chargers that work well today could be redundant in just a couple of years, with enhancements in charging speeds, safety features, and consumer experience all coming into play. With technology changing rapidly and standards compatibility (especially in segments like 2-wheeler EVs) being important, getting a charger on a subscription (or rental) could make sense. At the same time, having your own charger can provide many users with certainty.
In case of setting up a captive charging solution for self-use, it is important to check on the power connection and ability to access electricity and internet connectivity (via mobile or otherwise) when setting up the charging station. For commercial users, it is important to assess power connections based on the size of the charging stations, considering the no. of units to be set up and power requirements. Installation could also be taken care of by the EV Charging solution provider.
The country’s mobility future is going to be based significantly on electric vehicles since it is a cleaner alternative and also an affordable option today. Accelerating the transition to EVs relies on many factors, but availability of EV charging solutions is the key determinant to mass adoption. While users will have a multitude of options for EV charging, it is important to make the best choice of an EV Charging solution based on usage needs, keeping in mind aspects of technology and safety.