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Companies keen to enter electric vehicle charging space may either partner power distribution companies or set up battery swapping shops, as per the business models identified by power regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).
The commission has recognised three business models viable within the framework of the Electricity Act 2003. For any other model, an amendment to the act will have to be brought in, a senior government official said.
Industry sources said a minimum of 50 international and domestic companies, including public sector undertakings, startups, auto companies, energy firms, battery makers and cab aggregators are keen on setting up charging infrastructure. The regulator has completed its study on electric vehicle charging infrastructure framework within the existing law.
The draft guidelines on the same are likely to be circulated for comments in the next 10 days, the government official said. The study was conducted by CERC to see the legality of electric vehicle charging stations. The Electricity Act prohibits sale of electricity by companies other than distribution licensee. CERC has suggested that the charging stations can be set up by the electricity distribution companies in a state with separate tariffs under the special category.
“Setting up electric vehicle charging stations can help the distribution companies to sell more electricity without the need to back out of scheduled power contracts,” the government official said. The regulator has also suggested the PPP franchisee model where acompany can partner with electricity distribution companies, he said. “If a firm acts as an agent of the distribution company, new licence is not required. The special category tariffs can be mad applicable to this model too,” he said.
The third model suggested by the commission is battery swapping model where firms aggregate batteries, charge them and swap with discharged batteries. “This model is viable within legal framework as there will not be any direct sale or trading of electricity,” he said. Any other business model beyond these three will require amendment of the Electricity Act, the commission’s study showed.
In order to cut costs and promote electric vehicles, the government is considering sale of two-wheelers, three-wheelers and city buses without batteries to cut costs. The batteries will be leased at a specified cost and can be swapped with recharged ones at charging stations. The government plans to shift to an all-electric fleet by 2030.
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