Electric highway plans are moving closer to reality

The government is yet to finalize charging locations or the finalists.
The government is yet to finalize charging locations or the finalists.

Summary

  • Under the project, the government plans to set up charging infrastructure across 5,500 km of national highways along the golden quadrilateral.

New Delhi: Adani Total Energy, Jio BP, Shell Mobility and the Aditya Birla Group are among private entities in talks with the government to set up charging stations along national highways under a new initiative to enhance electric mobility, two people aware of the development said.

Selected entities will be offered locations along national highways by the end of March to build charging infrastructure at regular intervals, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

The programme, called National Highways for EVs (NHEV), is steered by Ease of Doing Business, a technology piloting agency of the central government. It has already conducted a pilot project across 500 km, including the Delhi-Agra stretch (225 km) and the Delhi-Jaipur highway (272 km).

Abhijeet Sinha, national programme director at Ease of Doing Business, said: “Under this newly designed model, every charging station is expected to reach breakeven in 36-40 months. NHEV would introduce 20 e-buses and 200 electric cars on each highway." Sinha added that NHEV would invite fleet operators to run these vehicles.

Under the project, the government plans to set up charging infrastructure across 5,500 km of national highways along the golden quadrilateral. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would provide land for these stations.

The projects will be financed through a model called annuity hybrid e-mobility (AHEM), a variant of the existing hybrid annuity model used in road projects. AHEM involves annuity payments to contractors for the initial investment made by them in fixed amounts for a period of 12 months. Thereafter, variable annuity will be paid in the remaining period for expansion so that the entire capital investment is recovered.

According to Anshul Gupta, managing director of Okaya EV, an electric vehicle maker, the push for bringing in private players comes at a time when the EV sector is expected to witness significant growth in 2024, with a projected annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54%.

Speaking on the AHEM model, Gupta said: "This innovative approach not only encourages private and public sector collaboration but also paves the way for sustainable electric mobility infrastructure development in India."

The government is yet to finalize charging locations or the finalists. The selected applicants will be offered the locations on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Queries emailed to Jio BP, Adani Group, Aditya Birla Group and Shell Mobility India remained unanswered till press time.

Last month, NHEV allotted 122 locations to public sector companies under the ministries of petroleum and power. The government will finalize these, one of the two people cited above said.

Once all the locations and applicants are finalized, 30% each of the projected EV stations along each highway stretch will be offered to public and private sector companies, 30% to people with land along the highways who are interested in setting and operating charging stations; and the last 10% for state-owned bus depots.

While HDFC Bank will lend 3,672 crore for the 5,000 crore project, the rest will come from sovereign green funds, green bonds, carbon markets and multilateral development banks, among others.

NHEV is also in talks with joint ventures of public sector companies to take up and operate charging infrastructure.

Setting up charging infrastructure is a key focus area of the government as it looks to encourage EV adoption. It has already included charging stations as part of wayside amenities (WSAs) awarded by NHAI.

With the battery swapping policy still in the works, the road ministry has identified about 700 points along greenfield expressways and east-west and north-south corridors for development of green wayside amenity centres equipped with various kinds of charging points for electric vehicles.

State-run oil marketing companies have already begun building charging infrastructure at their fuel stations along national highways. In March last year, Centre sanctioned 800 crore under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) II to the three public sector OMCs for setting up over 7,000 public fast-charging stations across the country.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
more

MINT SPECIALS

Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App