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The Future of e-Mobility in India

India’s current EV adoption aims at 30 per cent new sales of electric passenger cars, light commercial vans, buses and trucks by 2030. Here we highlight the major concerns that are expected to emerge from additional requirements of power on existing grids.

Today, India is world’s second largest two-wheeler market, fifth largest PV market and seventh largest commercial vehicles market. As per the Automotive Mission Plan 2016-2026, India aims to be amongst the Top 3 automobile manufacturers. So, e-mobility is the greatest opportunity for the Indian auto industry to emerge as a leader globally, acknowledges Anmol Singh Jaggi, Director, Gensol Group.

Indian transportation sector accounts for one-third of the total crude oil consumed in the country with 80 per cent of this being consumed by road transportation alone. It also accounts for around 11 per cent of total CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. With growing concerns for environment and energy security coupled with advancements in technologies and innovative business models, transformed the automotive business in India and around the world. In 2013, India launched its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP) to ease dependence on foreign oil imports.

However, the transformative push for Electric Vehicle (EV) has become a debatable topic, as it presents enormous challenges along with opportunities for the Indian power and auto sectors. With adaptation of public transport and long-distance transit vehicle towards electricity, the existing Indian grid which runs across the country needs to focus on higher uptime and decentralisation approach to ensure availability of charging points for rising EV consumers.

According to Jaggi, two major factors that affect the consumers and the EV segment are the charging time and the driving range from the vehicle. He said, “The current eco-system has merely close to 250 charging stations which need to scale up to the highest range to ensure 30 per cent vehicles can run on batteries supported engines by 2030. Also, the adaptation of EV must be in sync with development of charging infrastructure especially at residential, commercial complexes and highways across the country.”

A long way to go
Anil Sardana, CEO and Managing Director, Tata Power believes that EV infrastructure in India still has a long way to go with several concerns remaining. “Policy related concerns include choosing and instituting policy instruments to promote EVs, setting up infrastructure, incentivising automobile manufacturers to produce EVs, and inducing consumers to switch to EVs,” Sardana points out. On the other hand, he adds, “Deployment and scaling up of EVs in urban areas greatly depends on the quality and access of charging infrastructure and facilitation of a supply chain for charged batteries.”

Globally, several countries like Singapore, Amsterdam, etc. have introduced plans and policies to improve EV infrastructure. In Sardana’s opinion, some of the ways in which India can improve its EV infrastructure include adequate capacity addition through renewables in the distribution grid which would meet the additional demand created by high penetration of EVs. “EV charging station could be designed with rooftop solar generation. The government also needs to invest in R&D for future battery technologies resulting in batteries with much higher specific energy, environment friendly and lower costs,” he opines.

A push to the current power demand
India’s current EV adoption aiming at 30 per cent new sales of electric passenger cars, light commercial vans, buses and trucks is an attempt to address the issue of CO2 emission, increasing air pollution and also to better manage the dependence on oil. As per a NITI Aayog report, India could save 64 per cent of energy demand for road transport and 37 per cent of carbon emissions by 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric and connected mobility future. Worldwide, the industry is gearing up to meet lower CO2 emission targets over the next decade, especially through the use of renewable power generation techniques. The move towards EV is also due to the increasing push on to curb the current account deficit by cutting down on oil imports. This will reduce India’s dependence on oil-rich countries.

The initiative is bound to give a push to the current power demand which may put excess burden on the grids. Therefore, Anil Kumar Kadam, GM – Business Development and Solution Architect, Schneider Electric opines, the-need- of-the-hour is to upgrade the grids and leverage latest technological advancements to manage the demand.

Upgrade grid to enhance efficiency
Digitisation is at the heart of future power distribution systems. It is transforming many areas of the power utility business in order to boost efficiency and manage demand and other ongoing issues. In a new energy world driven by decarbonisation, decentralisation, and digitisation trends, utilities need to innovate and evolve. According to Kadam, these 3 major forces will reshape the way we generate, transmit, distribute and consume electricity. It is vital to upgrade the grid with innovative solutions increasing the efficiency of the grid, he adds.

Towards a ‘smarter’ tomorrow
Furthermore, as the future belongs to smart, connected cities, our energy and infrastructure management solutions should help urban centres become smarter and greener. Henceforth, electric mobility is seen as a future of the transportation. But, in Kadam’s opinion, the key to the success of EVs lies in a robust and efficient power distribution system which calls for innovative solutions enabling upgradation of the grid.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture and platform enables the ability to create an interoperable and open platform that is IoT enabled. It enables assets across the grid to be managed proactively. The platform ensures that data is accessible real time, enabling the ability to resolve critical issues and increase customer satisfaction by proactively managing issues that arise across the grid.

According to a white paper released by Schneider Electric on the need for digitisation in the power sector in association with IDC, IoT, analytics and cloud capabilities are important elements for utilities seeking to monitor and control equipment across the network of assets and to manage their grid environment.

Low voltage distribution grid will be impacted first
Though the number of EVs in India as on date is low, the electricity infrastructure needs to ensure both system adequacy and quality of service to accommodate non-static load from upcoming EVs in the near future. The demand from EVs are highly dependent on type of technology used and level of charging used to charge the EV. Though, bulk of the charging is going to take place at homes, public charging infrastructure is also going to play an important role where majority of fast chargers will be installed.

“With the increase of EV penetration and rise of charging infrastructure, the low voltage distribution grid is going to have an impact first before we reach to the level of transmission or generation which is more-stronger compared to the distribution grid. A greater understanding of EV charging pattern and technologies, level of charging is required by the DISCOMs in order to ensure that distribution lines and transformers are not overloaded,” suggests Anant Nahata, Managing Director, Exicom Power Solutions.

He adds, “The EV chargers manufactured have the option of providing the communications connectivity at the grid side to DISCOMs or aggregators which can enable them to reduce the demand form the charging stations under voluntary based participation in a demand-response program of a DISCOM which will further help in better management of the peak power.”

The Way Forward
The Indian grid needs to adopt a lot of measures to ensure that it can sustain the expected 114 Gwh demand of electricity that shall arise due to 75 million EV cars, buses and trucks bearers by 2030. According to Anmol Singh Jaggi of Gensol Group some of these measures include:

• Focus on adequate energy generator resources primarily through green and renewable sources via decentralised and distributed grid to be adopted to meet additional demand created by high penetration of EVs.

• Schemes such as charging incentives during non-peak hours to be modelled commercially to ensure balance between demand and supplies of energy by state and centre level distribution companies to consumers with smart grid monitoring of the system.

• EV charging station to be designed with power input sources from solar and wind generation along with advanced technology battery storage system for fast charging systems especially on the highways to ensure uninterrupted transit.

• Public vehicles to be designed such that they support easy swapping of batteries and fast charging mechanism to ensure uninterrupted services. The grid must ensure planned distributed network where in it can support fast charging systems for heavy vehicles.

• Area wise integrated planning of public transport and Renewable Generation with dynamic pricing of electricity during day time and smart grid and IoT infra-structure for monitoring, metering and controlling system especially at commercial complexes and public parking places to be adequately equipped with charging infra to balance charging time between personal vehicles and public vehicles.

• The Indian grid must upgrade the current network with respect to smart monitoring, load balancing and especially adaptation of demand response management system to ensure that the load and supply balances by passing incentives to users along with adequate charging and swapping stations adaptation.

Deployment and scaling up of EVs in urban areas greatly depends on the quality and access of charging infrastructure and facilitation of a supply chain for charged batteries.
Anil Sardana, CEO and MD, Tata Power

The-need- of-the-hour is to upgrade the grids and leverage latest technological advancements to manage the demand.
Anil Kumar Kadam, GM – Business Development and Solution Architect, Schneider Electric

Adaptation of EV must be in sync with development of charging infrastructure especially at residential, commercial complexes and highways across the country.
Anmol Singh Jaggi,Director, Gensol Group

A greater understanding of EV charging pattern and technologies, level of charging is required by the DISCOMs in order to ensure that distribution lines and transformers are not overloaded.
Anant Nahata, MD, Exicom Power Solutions

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