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NEW DELHI : Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum is partnering with India’s Charge+Zone, a technology-led electric vehicle charging infrastructure company, to jointly offer their charging networks to vehicle users.

This will allow a customer to access Charge+Zone’s vehicle charging points through Fortum Charge & Drive India Pvt. Ltd’s mobile application. A Charge+Zone customer can similarly use Fortum’s network.

The collaboration would complement and combine the strengths of both the charging point operators (CPOs) and provide their customer base with a wider electric vehicle (EV) charging network across India.

“Fortum’s MoU with Charge+Zone is aimed at introducing seamless roaming facility, akin to one existing in the telecom sector, to EV customers as they will now be free to roam in their vehicles without having a worry get their vehicle charged at specific charging stations," Awadhesh Jha, executive director, Fortum Charge & Drive India said in an interview.

“The idea is to develop a roaming framework for EV vehicles in the country where we will also bring on board other like-minded CPOs having open charge point interface (OCPI) that will provide seamless access to their charging infrastructure through a single platform," Jha said.

The Fortum-Charge+Zone partnership is billed as India’s first-of-its-kind project that will offer access to EV charging stations for the end user. Known as peer-to-peer roaming, the framework of this collaboration is to provide customers with optimal user experience, by uniting and creating a roaming network of charging service providers.

“The intent to come together is to offer true inter-operability to EV user by complementing strength of two CPOs. This is expected that this platform would grow by having more and more CPOs coming on-board," Jha said. The development of EV charging points is one of the biggest challenges to fast-track their adoption in India. As part of this, the Centre is planning to install up to 70,000 EV chargers across the country in the next few years. State-run oil marketing companies have also indicated that they would install 22,000 charging stations at 70,000 fuel outlets across the country.

Also, to facilitate long-distance travel on EVs, the road and highways ministry has proposed to make all highways fully compliant with green norms, with EV charging stations present at every wayside amenity—about 150 of which are under development or award.

Moreover, the ministry of heavy industries has invited proposals from government organizations and public sector companies, including power distribution companies, to build and operate charging infrastructure on expressways and national highways under the phase-II of FAME India Scheme.

The consortium of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) and Convergence Energy Services Ltd, a subsidiary of EESL, have been awarded the work for setting up charging stations along 16 national highways and expressways.

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