New Delhi: The power ministry has categorised charging batteries of electric vehicles as a service, a move which will help such stations operate without licence and encourage the use of e-vehicles. Transmission, distribution and trading of electricity need licences under the Electricity Act.
Therefore, all utilities have to seek licences for sale of power to consumers. The ministry said in a clarification that during the charging of e-vehicles, a station does not perform any activity related to the transmission, distribution or trading of electricity.
"Hence charging of batteries of electric vehicles through charging station does not any require licence under the provision of the Electricity Act 2003," it said.
It is a progressive step, said Sohinder Gill, Director Corporate Affairs, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV). It was one of the major impediments in the way of building a charging ecosystem in the country, he said, adding that SMEV requests the government to address other related issues like acquisition of land, along with physical and non-physical incentives.
Last month, Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh had said, "We will come up shortly with a policy, including regulatory framework and technical standards on e-vehicles. Besides, we also have a plan for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the next 15-20 days for setting up charging stations along corridors to be identified."
The clarification, however, does not provide more details like average cost of supply of power. An official had earlier said the policy on charging stations on points along identified corridors -- draft of which has been finalised by the Central Electricity Authority -- would provide that the price of power for charging e-vehicles be capped at the average cost of supply in the state, excluding discom transmission and distribution (T&D) losses, plus 15 per cent.
The policy is expected to help the tariff for charging at an economical level of below Rs 6 per unit. In the present scenario, the EVs make economic sense as their per km running cost is less than a rupee, whereas the same cost for petrol and diesel works out to an average of Rs 6.50.
The government's National Electric Mobility Mission Plan launched in 2013 aims at ensuring 6-7 million electric and hybrid vehicles in India by 2020. The vision enunciated two years ago is for India to have 100 per cent EVs by 2030.