This article talks about NHforEV project, that is being pursued under the initiative of Ease of Doing Business Program by ASSAR (Advance Services for Social and Administrative Reforms), a private entity in supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, NITI Aayog and key ministries.
The project is aimed at converting Jaipur-Delhi-Agra highway into an e-highway that provides charging facilities, automatic roadside assistance, 24*7 connectivity and anti-theft protection to all the electric vehicles running on the corridor. NHforEV aims to develop a framework that could be replicated pan-India for transforming the rest of the 12 identified corridors by Ministry of Power into electric highways. In an exclusive conversation with EVreporter, Director for NHforEV, Abhijeet Sinha stated that the main challenges in adoption of electric vehicles are high acquisition cost of electric vehicles and lack of supporting infrastructure that discourages potential buyers from opting for electric vehicles. While it is unfair to expect OEMs to supply long-range electric cars in the same range as ICE vehicles, work is required to evolve business models to accommodate for the change in dynamics that e-mobility brings.
Electric mobility needs to be perceived as a multi-dimensional system, and not as a stand- alone product. Charging infrastructure, availability of breakdown assistance and 24*7 network connectivity and tracking of vehicles are all parts of this system.”Abhijeet Sinha – Project Director – NHforEV2020
In an attempt to make the business such as electric fleet operations and running a charging station economically favourable, NHforEV project has been based on following initiatives.
Charging specifications of the vehicle will be matched. As more highways across the country are converted to e-highways, their charging infrastructure details will be added on to the mobile and vehicle app, enabling one interface to cater to Charger Discovery on highways pan-India.
Business case for e-highway According to data collected by NHforEV team, around 1,00,000 vehicles run on the Jaipur- Delhi-Agra corridor on a daily basis. Out of these, nearly 73% are individually owned private vehicles.
NHforEV focusses on the remaining 27% vehicles belonging to Government of India, PSUs, State transport authorities, fleet operators and travel operators. “For the pilot, we plan 100 electric cars (i.e 0.4% of 27% state influenced vehicles) for the corridor and aspire to increase this percentage to 3.6% within a year of launch, i.e. around 1000 electric vehicles. A few fleet operating companies have already applied to be a part of the program”. Looking at the sheer number of vehicles plying on this corridor on a daily basis, operating charging stations can be made economically attractive. Abhijeet also informed us that alongside electric cars, 20 electric buses (10 on Agra-Delhi and 10 on Delhi-Jaipur, 5 each side) owned by selected bus operators will ply on the corridor. Lower running cost of electric buses will allow an operational saving of INR 400-600 per ticket that would be used to provide an unmatched luxury experience to the passengers at the same price as a diesel Volvo.
Business Model for Charging Stations
●Charing infra is being established on a one-year annuity model Annuity Hybrid E- Mobility (AHEM) inspired by HAM (Hybrid Annuity Model) for highway construction.
● Allocation – Ministry of Power and Ministry of Petroleum and Neural Gas to allocate Charging Stations to different PSUs. PSUs, in turn, will provide Capex for station and OPEX will be earned by the operator ASSAR in prototype period of 12 months to help establish the Charging Station and its equipment.
● The charging stations will also feature screens and hoardings for advertising revenue to pay for staff and maintenance.
The program started in 2018 and now set to launch its financial model during India Smart Utility Week in New Delhi from March 4th to 7th, 2020 followed by physical flag-off in mid 2020.