India May Use Three Standards For EV Charging Infrastructure

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Tesla Model 3 with CCS charging port
A European-style CCS plug on a Tesla Model 3. This is one of the standards India is considering adopting for EV charging. Photo by Tesla.

As India looks to prep charging infrastructure to support the planned surge in electric vehicles, the government is looking to finalize the charging standards to be deployed.

Media reports quote unnamed sources in the Ministry of Power claiming that charging stations in India shall use three charging technologies, including one developed indigenously. The charging stations shall include the Japanese CHAdeMO, European Combined Charging System (CCS) and the Indian Bharat Standard.

Economic daily Business Line reported that the government had earlier planned to mandate just two technologies — the Bharat standard and one of the other two — CHAdeMO or CCS. However, the very large majority of the electric vehicles being used in India today are two and three-wheelers. It is uneconomical for such vehicles to use the high-capacity fast charging CHAdeMO and CCS technologies.

Two and three-wheel electric vehicles in India continue to use low-voltage slow charging technology. Additionally, the Indian electric cars manufactured by Mahindra Electric and Tata Motors can also use the low-voltage slow charging technology, which is similar to the Bharat Standard and the 15-ampere sockets used in Indian households.

The decision to go with the two most popular charging technologies, and adding the technology likely most widely available, is an intelligent choice on the part of the Indian government. Hyundai recently launched the first fully-electric SUV — the Kona — in India, which uses CHAdeMO technology. Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker, partnered with Toyota on the development of electric cars in India. It is quite reasonable to assume that the two will introduce cars based on CHAdeMO technology. Apart from Suzuki and Hyundai, Honda is also a highly popular carmaker in India. All these manufacturers already have models that use CHAdeMO technology.

India needs to quickly decide on charging infrastructure standards. The government is reportedly planning to ban the sale of all three-wheelers using internal combustion engines by March 2023 and all two-wheelers using internal combustion engines with less than 150 cc by March 2025. Manufacturers will definitely require some clarity on the support infrastructure before they start rolling out electric vehicles.

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