Continuing its thrive for an EV-based future for India, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, unveiled a miniature the-state-of-the-art EV charging station. National Highways have conceptualized the miniature for EV (NHEV). These charging stations will be equipped with world-class wayside amenities like eco-friendly bio-toilets, ATM & bank outlets, a conference arena, Ayurvedic spas, a child & mother’s room and a two-wheeler EV showroom. Additionally, crucial Road Side Assistance (RSA) facilities equipped with battery swapping units for local e-mobility will also be available on these stations. All these facilities will be accommodated by a space-station-like charging station powered by a solar unit.

These charging stations are conceptualized to replace traditional petrol pumps and wayside amenities on the highways in the future. The miniature unveiling has also started the discussions about the operational and financial comparison between these charging Stations and the traditional petrol pumps. This has also opened the door for a probable Public Private Partnership (PPP) to build such stations across the nation.

“Since last 3-4 years, I have been talking about electric vehicles and have been answering many questions like what would happen if we break down with an electric vehicle? However, it didn’t happen, and with a gradual increase in confidence in technology, questions got answered itself. Now there are waiting lists for electric cars and scooters, and I can say that electricity is the fuel of the future. Currently, electric double-decker AC bus costs are coming to INR 60 per km, non-AC INR 39 per kilometre, and for normal electric AC bus, INR 41 per km and diesel bus is costing INR 115 per km. If you can bring business class comfort in an electric bus with trolley on economical ticket cost to passengers, it will make public transportation more competent for users.” said Mr. Gadkari, while revealing the miniature.

The miniature prototype is already installed in Sectors 86 & 52 of Gurugram in Haryana. The team of NHEV has already implemented the safety standards and envisaged the commercial challenges in running such stations. Mr Abhijeet Sinha, Project Director, NHEV, said, “I am glad to share that the pilot has achieved its goals in both trials and now everyone, including investors, can see the future of petrol pumps in these charging stations. This miniature from the NHEV pilot has aided e-mobility to overcome other three major obstacles; layout, safety certification and standardization, financing EV infra on highways and asset utilization and early breakeven.”

This development is a welcome move on the excellent future of EVs in India. Besides that, India must proactively start working towards boosting cell manufacturing and raw material refining to meet its domestic demand for lithium-ion batteries. A recent report by management consulting firm Arthur D Little suggests that India needs to invest about $10 billion by 2030 in battery manufacturing and raw material refining to meet the demands.