Journey by Tata Power Learnings & Opportunities

Globally, there has been an increasing trend towards shift to sustainable mobility, especially in urban areas, where vehicular emission contributes to 20-35% of PM 2.5 pollution. This shift has been further enhanced post COVID pandemic as evident from the electric vehicle sales data. The consumers have become conscious of their carbon footprint and the governments are also incentivizing the consumers to drive EV adoption in terms of subsidies and other benefits...

Many countries in the world have taken a target of zero emission vehicles (either EV or Hydrogen) and have made significant progress in that direction. Norway has taken a goal of all new cars sold by 2025 would be zero emission. China has commitment of 50% EVs by 2035 and is poised to surpass it. India has taken a target of 30% EV sales for private cars by 2030.

EV Policy Support by Government of India

The Electric Vehicle push by the Government of India focuses on the two important aspects of energy security and urban pollution by tail pipe emission of vehicles. As per oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) India’s oil import dependency has increased from 83.8% in 2018-19 to 87.3% of domestic consumption in 2022-23. The import bill has risen by 61.5% from 7.8 lakh crores to 12.6 lakh crores in the same period. The Government of India has taken various policy steps to kickstart the EV ecosystem, most notable among those are mentioned next.

These incentives have been very effective in the adoption of EVs in India. Total 2,80,141 EVs has been sanctioned through FAME I till 31-Mar-19 and a total of 12,54,083 EVs sanctioned through FAME II as on 3-Aug-23.

One of the EV charging sources created by Tata Power…

EV Launches by Manufacturers

“With the strengthening of supply, demand and ecosystem, the EV sector is surely going to progress” said the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi while addressing a programme commemorating 40 years of Suzuki in India. There are multiple options available for EV car buyers in India with 19 electric car manufacturers having 31 car models starting from entry level cars at Rs. 8 Lakhs to high end luxury and sports cars at Rs. 2.5 Crores. The sale of EVs has been picking up owing to the wide array of choices available, fairly developed charging network and lower running and maintenance cost of EVs compared to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.

Tata Power’s Journey as a Charge Point Operator

Tata Power is leading the charge in the shift towards green energy, positioning itself as a frontrunner in the sector among India’s largest integrated power companies. Tata Power has presence over 100 years across the entire value chain from generation, transmission, distribution to new-age energy solution.

  • Generation Capacity: 14,000+ MW
  • Clean Energy Portfolio: 37% (5,000+ MW)
  • Transmission: 4,000+ Ckm
  • Distribution: 12 million+ Consumers
  • With sustainability at its core Tata Power has set ambitious target to be:
  • Carbon Neutral by 2045
  • Water Neutral by 2023
  • Zero Waste to Landfill by 2023

Our prominent role aligns perfectly with the country’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

As a part of new-age energy solutions, Tata Power is now also offering end-to-end solutions on EV charging, which include setting up and managing smart EV Charging infra, building backend power infrastructure, and ensuring reliable and available power to these infra. We have many ‘firsts-in-the-country’ to our credit, including setting up India’s first fast Public EV Charging station, which we had set up in Mumbai in August 2017. We have come a long way since then, with 4,000+ Charging points commissioned and spread across 350+ cities and towns in India as on FY 23.

Our EV Charging service is divided across 4 major segments:

  • Public
  • Captive & Home
  • Fleet
  • eBus

I will discuss briefly about our learnings and experience of over six years in the development and maintenance of Public EV Charging infra.

Reliable Location Tie-ups

Setting up of EV Charging Infra requires considerable amount of investment, which gets tied up with the location. If the charging station is required to be relocated, investment incurred in power infra is lost completely in addition to transportation expense. The location should be selected based on the following considerations:

  • Location Partner owns the land or under long term lease agreement (5-10 years)
  • Charging station’s proximity to power source (maximum 100-150m distance)
  • Frequently travelled route (preferably co-located with pit-stops or with amenities)
  • Station covered under surveillance of Location Partner

Extensive Highway Coverage

Range anxiety is the second most cited reason of not adopting Electric Vehicle as per our internal survey. Providing connectivity between pair cities had been our initial strategy followed by complete highway coverage across all major highways in India. We have commissioned 600+ CCS II Charging points across 150+ Highway Segments in India as on FY 23. The exhaustive highway coverage is imperative to drive EV Adoption, even though some of the chargers may be sparingly utilized.

Long Term Hardware Partner for Supply & Maintenance

There has been a surge of EV Charger supplier in the market owing to the increase in demand of EV chargers and projected EV Sales in India. Procurement of EV chargers must not be based on the sole criteria of L1 rates discovered through competitive bidding and technical specifications. Being a fast-evolving market, charger suppliers are long term partners to the business. They are required to maintain and upgrade the humongous charger network as per technological changes, which are dispersed across a wide geography.

Available Charging Platform

A Charger Management System (CMS) is developed in-house by Tata Power to remotely monitor and manage the EV Charging network. There are a few CMS solutions provider in the market, with various features and functionalities available which can be independently evaluated for use. We provide end to end service to consumers covering Charger installation, Operations management, Maintenance, Billing & collection settlement. Our software platform has features of RFID management, User management, Pricing Management, Wallet management, Charger management and Partner Management. Due to the expected growth numbers in terms of EV Chargers deployment, SaaS solution was ruled out. A state-of-the-art Network Operation Centre has also been developed to monitor the EV Chargers 24X7 for availability and minimize downtime. Reliability of the robust platform together with increase of EVs plying on road has resulted in a steady growth in the number of transactions observed through our EZ Charge Mobile application. Key features of the Mobile application are locate, book, charge and pay along with user analytics, station analytics, RFID card based charging that was recently launched, transaction history, refunds etc.

Easy to Use Mobile Application

Tata Power has developed an intuitive mobile application ‘Tata Power EZ Charge’ for a hassle-free charging experience. Charging is now as simple as a 5 click process as depicted in the illustration given hereafter (Locate -> Estimate -> Pay -> Charge). Tata Power has also launched RFID card enabling EV owners to just tap and charge.

EV Charging Process flow through Tata Power EZ Charge Mobile… …Application

Close Association with Electric Vehicle Manufactures

The charging rate of an electric vehicle depends on multiple factors, some of which are given below:

  • Battery Capacity
  • Battery C-Rate
  • State of Charge
  • EV Charger Capacity

To optimize the investment, charger capacity is chosen so as not to oversize or underutilize the EV owner’s time. For example the range of battery capacity varies between 20 to 35kWh for different models of EV but to optimise the infra cost and to benefit the consumer for fast charging we have optimised the fast charger rating at 25kW/30kW with single gun or double gun facility. Example we have single gun 25kW/30kW charger installed or 50/60kW double gun charger with each gun having a capacity of 25kW/30kW.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Testing lab

Customer experience is one of the critical factors for penetration of EV and usage of EV infrastructure. To enhance the customer experience, TATA Power has set up an Electric vehicle supply equipment testing lab to check the functionality and compatibility of the fast and slow chargers as per standards/protocols IEC 62196 part 1,2&3, IS 17017:part 2 sec1,2&3, IEC 61851-21&23, CCS-DIN spec 70121 and ISO/IS 15118. This would check the charger by simulating more than 200+ test cases to assess the capability of charger at various conditions. The man in the middle feature will help the compatibility between charger and Electric vehicle to understand whether the vehicle is able to respond to EV with proper handshaking at all scenarios.

Dr. Neelesh Kane is an Electrical Engineer, Alumni of Harvard Business School, MBA- Energy management from MDI Gurgaon and PhD in Strategy and Power management. He is also a certified auditor of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Member of various BIS Committees. Currently he is working as the Chief (Distribution) Tata Power (Mumbai). He also looks after the company’s EV Business Operations. He carries experience of over 26 years in Electrical Operations and Technology ranging from Generation, Transmission, Distribution & Renewable sectors to latest pioneering technologies like Battery Energy Storage, Electric Vehicle Solutions and Smart Grid projects. He has represented Tata Power at various platforms for presentations on power distribution, EV infrastructure, battery energy storage etc.

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