How to Set Up an EV Charging Station: Understand the Different Types, Costs, Policies, and Other Factors

Here are some of the features of an EV charging station, as well as how much they cost and how the government of India can assist you with them.

How to Set Up an EV Charging Station: Understand the Different Types, Costs, Policies, and Other Factors
EV Charging Station

The new era of electric vehicles is causing significant changes on Indian roads. They are quieter, cleaner, and appear to be straight out of an old sci-fi film. Large lithium-ion batteries that must be charged on a regular basis power these electric powertrains. While there are plenty of vehicles, such as the electric cars and scooters we see zipping around, the infrastructure for charging them is still limited. But not for long.

The Indian government has stated unequivocally that electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure are urgently needed. In this grand scheme of things, charging stations will be critical. They will be the fuel stations of the new age of Indian mobility, according to poetic verse.

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So the next question is, "Who will bring about this change?" The Government of India is working to expand India's EV charging network. The Ministry of Power assigned a plan to install 22,000 EV charging stations throughout the country in its recent Guidelines and Standards for EV Charging Infrastructure. It has delegated responsibility for these to state-owned oil companies such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL).

Fortunately for all of us, the responsibility will not be limited to the current players. The government wants citizens to be involved as well. Some of the guidelines that have been issued in this regard attempt to make it easier for an individual to set up an EV charging station in his or her area. The notable ones are attractive subsidies surrounding such EV charging setup, assistance in grid connections, and the elimination of any license requirements for the same.

If you recognize the value of these aids and want to be a part of India's EV revolution, setting up an EV charging station near you could be a good first step. How do you set up an EV charging station?

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How EV charger works

An electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), also known as an EV charger, is a piece of equipment that is plugged into an electric vehicle to charge it. A similar setup could be at home, in an office, or in a public location intended for general public use.

What these chargers or "stations" do is draw energy from the grid and deliver it to electric vehicles as needed. Based on how this works, there are only two broad categories of chargers: an AC charger, which provides limited charge and thus has a slow charging speed, and a DC charger, which is super fast in comparison due to a much higher rate of charge transfer.

Aside from the time, it takes to charge a vehicle, another important lesson you can learn from how electric chargers work is how much electricity they consume. Because AC chargers use less power, they can be installed in a home with an existing grid connection. A DC charger, on the other hand, would necessitate a separate, dedicated connection.

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EV Charging Station Types

These critical distinctions are outlined in the three tiers of EV charging stations:

Charging Level 1: The most basic AC chargers put the least amount of strain on the grid at the expense of long EV charging times.

Charging Level 2: AC chargers with increased capacity (up to 22kW) cut EV charging times in half when compared to Level 1 charging.

Charging Level 3: The most recent EV chargers on the market (up to 250kW). Support for DC chargers of up to 50kW is currently available in India, which is still volumes faster than the fastest AC chargers on the market. These are typically found in public EV charging stations and are supplied by a completely different class of suppliers.

Each of these categories has a plethora of options on the market. Knowing about these various types of chargers, you should be able to do your market research much more easily, and choose the best product for your budget.

Here is a list of additional considerations for the station.

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You may own a plot of land that you want to put to environmentally friendly use. If not, you may be able to lease the land needed for an EV charging station. The good news is that both will necessitate the same considerations and will not cost you an arm and a leg to set up your first EV charging station.

The amount of land available determines the number of EV chargers that can be installed. Because each charger will require a vehicle space right next to it, make sure you have enough for multiple such cars at the same time. It is estimated that 500 square feet of space can serve three or four cars at once. Remember to leave enough room for these vehicles to enter, exit, and queue.

Charging stations are frequently surrounded by recreational facilities. This is due to the fact that most EVs that come in for charging spend about an hour on the chargers. The occupants usually spend this time at nearby cafes, restaurants, or other similar establishments. This practise also assists investors in increasing their returns from the setup. It works both ways, as high-traffic public places are quickly installing EV charging stations as a convenience for visitors.

This brings us to another very important aspect of this land that will determine your EV charging station's revenue.

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How to choose Location

EV charging stations, like petrol pumps that are widely distributed along Indian roads, must be stationed at a front that is easily visible and accessible to EVs on the road. A location along a highway or on a city's main roads will almost certainly produce excellent results.

However, there is a first-mover advantage that many new businesses can take advantage of. Because the number of charging stations is still limited, EV drivers tend to plan their routes around the location of these stations. The operating EVs in your area will almost certainly reroute their routes to visit your station, regardless of its location.

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Charging infrastructure

Unsurprisingly, an electric vehicle charging station will necessitate the use of, well, electricity. This can only be obtained from the grid after the necessary government approvals. To open an EV charging station, you must first obtain these approvals, as well as provide any necessary infrastructure.

This will most likely include a transformer and a substation. You will also need to purchase electricity cables to connect this station to the kiosks. All of this should be able to adhere to the guidelines established by the Indian government, ensuring a completely safe transfer of electricity throughout.

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Chargers Types

Similarly, the EV chargers installed at the station are required. To maintain the quality of chargers in India, there are two international standards and one domestic standard. These are the Japanese CHAdeMO, European CCS, and Bharat AC/DC standards from India. The table below details the exact specifications that work with each of these charger types.

S. No Charging Station Voltage (V) Power (kW) Type of Vehicle Type of compatible charger
1 Level 1 (AC) 240 <=3.5 kW 4w ,3w,2w Type 1, Bharat AC-001
2 Level 1 (DC) =48"}" style="box-sizing: border-box; padding: 3px 8px; border: 1px solid #dfe1e8; background-color: transparent; color: inherit; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">>=48 <=15 kW 4w,3w,2w Bharat DC-001
3 Level 2 (AC) 380-400 <=22 kW 4w,3w,2w Type 1, Type 2, GB/T ,Bharat AC-001
4 Level 3 (AC) 200-1000 22 to 4.3 kW 4w Type 2
5 Level 3 (DC) 200-1000 Up to 400 kW 4w

Type 2, CHAdeMO,CCS1,CCS2

It is also prudent to monitor the market response to such chargers. Because these must withstand repeated use and all types of weather, they must be durable enough to keep them safe and operational. It should be noted that DC fast chargers are not cheap. To focus on this, we will examine the costs of EV charging stations.

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In India, a notable DC fast charger can cost upwards of Rs 10 lakh. Considering three or four of these, along with the cost of land, is a clear indication that this business is not open to all types of investors. The total amount may differ from case to case, but the components requiring your money remain constant. They are broadly classified as installation and operational costs.

Installation cost:  include land, electricity, EV chargers, integration, and other infrastructure.

Operational cost: include software maintenance, technical maintenance, labor, and advertising.

Installing an EV charging station in India on leased land and with one unit of all types of chargers is estimated to cost upwards of Rs 50 lakh. Some aspects will be aided by government policies, such as a subsidy on land leases and a standard rate for electricity. Here are some additional requirements for establishing your own EV charging station.

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Government policies

The Indian government has stated that no license is required to build an EV charging infrastructure, implying that the plan can be pursued as a viable business model by anyone. In fact, the government has mandated in its revised consolidated guidelines and standards for EV charging infrastructure that any such EV charging stations be provided with an electricity connection "within 7 days in metro cities, 15 days in other municipal areas, and 30 days in rural areas."

It also gives such EV chargers the flexibility to get their energy from any available service provider. Similarly, they are free to use any charger on the market as long as it complies with the technical and safety requirements. Some regulations, on the other hand, stipulate that each public EV charging station must have a transformer and a substation, as well as adequate safety measures and a partnership with at least one online Network Service Provider for EV owners to book charging slots online.

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Perfect time for a new setup

The Indian government has ambitious plans for this infrastructure. For example, it plans to build over 1000 electric vehicle charging stations across India by 2023, with one station for every 3km X 3km grid. It also wants one electric vehicle charging station every 25 km on both sides of highways and roads. This opens up a lot of room for new EV charging infrastructure in the coming years. In major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad, first movers will have a clear advantage. As the number of electric vehicle owners on Indian roads grows, now might be the best time to start this business if you've been thinking about it. Of course, you now know just about everything there is to know in order to do so confidently.

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