Governments have relied largely on public sector units (PSUs) to set up EV charging stations, failing to leverage the private sector to invest in charging networks at scale. Delhi has implemented a PPP model which is unique in its structure, design process and the criteria used for bidding. Delhi’s approach of setting up 900 charging points at 100 locations in private-public partnership (PPP) mode with a tariff as low as ₹2 per unit (less than 3 US cents) could offer a model to emulate.
Across the world, there has been a considerable focus on strengthening the EV charging network across the cities. While it is important to have increasingly more accessible charging points available, for a country like India, it is also important that EV charging is available at affordable rates.
Typically, EV charging across the world follows four models: utility-led, automakers-led (with ‘walled gardens’ of chargers), PSU-led and business-led (independent entities offering customers a charging service). In contrast, Delhi has put forward a PPP model which is unique in its structure, the process of developing it, and the criteria used for bidding.
There are five aspects that make the ‘Delhi Model’ of EV-charging novel:
- Land aggregation and placing of EV charging stations: In Delhi, the government took the responsibility of putting together land parcels from different agencies to be rented out on a concessional basis to private players. Land being a scarce resource, this overcame one of the biggest impediments to such a network. The aggregation process also ensured good spatial planning, with sites spread across Delhi, including in underserved areas. Additionally, rigorous feasibility analysis for each site and their clubbing into packages ensured high attractiveness for the private sector.
- Sound understanding of EV charging business models: As EV charging stations do not earn profits in the initial years, the Delhi government defrayed costs associated with upstream electrical infrastructure on each site and linked lease rentals to revenue, addressing two major costs that impede the business viability of charging stations. The Delhi government also looked beyond charging as a standalone business and encouraged the participation of stakeholders whose core business is aided by operating charging stations, such as fleet operators, power distribution companies (DISCOMs), battery-swapping operators, and vehicle and battery manufacturers.
- Flexibility in charger-combination calls: Since the economic and technical feasibility of operating charging stations is site specific, the Delhi government offered the private sector flexibility in determining the charger combinations on 70% of the space in each package. This mitigates the risk of today’s rapidly evolving charging technology getting obsolete in the near future.
- Service charges as a bidding criterion: Typically, the criteria for bidding is decided with revenue maximization in mind. In contrast, Delhi kept the service charge for the end consumer as a criterion for bidding. The high appeal of the land parcels aggregated by the government, combined with a model conducive to business success, resulted in strong competition among private bidders to quote a low service charge. As a result, the Delhi government received negative service charge bids and Delhi’s EV users will be able to charge vehicles at just ₹2 per unit, perhaps cheaper than anywhere else in the world.
- The development process of Delhi’s EV charging strategy: Back in early 2020, the Delhi government set up a high-level working group for the accelerated rollout of charging infrastructure. It comprised the heads of all relevant Delhi government departments, municipal corporations, discoms and external experts, and was chaired by the Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC), the government’s think-tank. This group led the process of developing a holistic EV-charging strategy for Delhi and proactively resolved any issues pertaining to the coordinated roll-out of charging stations in the city.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The tender incorporated five key innovations in design, namely, aggregation of public land parcels, linking of lease with capacity utilisation of charging/swapping stations, allowing flexibility in determining combination of chargers, expanding the pool of bidders, and keeping service charge as the bidding criteria. These innovations ensured aggressive competition in the market and resulted in the discovery of service charge, which would enable EV users in the NCT of Delhi to charge their EVs at merely ₹2 per unit (less than 3 US cents), perhaps cheaper than anywhere else.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Out of the total 100 sites, nearly 20 sites will be inaugurated in October 2022 with full operations while all 100 sites are expected to go Live by Dec 2022. It will benefit more than 100,000 Electric vehicles in Delhi.
Delhi government is already in process of bringing our Phase-2 of this project with 100 more such sites to be flagged off which will help in adding nearly 1000 charging points and 100 Battery swapping points in next 1.5 years.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Transport Department had to collaborate with the Power Department and Power Distribution Companies (DISCOMs). The sites have been provided by various stakeholders including Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), Delhi State Industrial And Infrastructure (DSIDC), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), DISCOMs and involve full participation from Land owning agencies. Finally the 4 successful bidders i.e. Charger Point Operators (CPOs) responsible for the charging infrastructure
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- Delhi Government, Transport Department, Power Department, DISCOMs, MCDs and land owning agencies
- The EV users, especially 2W and 3W vehicle owners
- Delivery and Logistic industry
- A shift to 0% smoke and 100% EVs will help in reducing pollution levels. A huge relief for the residents and a significant impact on climate goals for the state and the country
- More employment opportunities for people with need for human resources for multiple charging stations, service centers and knowledge centers
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The charging infrastructure PPP model is designed to enforce the EV Policy mandate to make a charging point available within 3 km of travel anywhere in Delhi. The model is holistic as it covers development of infrastructure, economic viability, interoperability, lowest EV charging rates for the end consumer, favorable EV tariff rates, easy access to prime public charging infrastructure and well-designed regulatory framework. This would generate confidence in the customers and take Delhi one step closer to meeting the target of 25% of all new vehicles registered by 2024 to be EVs. Currently, EVs have penetrated approximately 12% of the vehicle market in Delhi.
Meeting the target of 25% EV penetration by 2024 would add approximately 500,000 EVs across vehicle segments in the city. These vehicles would reduce PM2.5 emissions by 159 tons and CO2 emissions by 4.8 million tons over their lifetime compared with an equal- sized fleet of ICE vehicles.
Challenges and Failures
Inter-agency coordination & standardization: Deployment of EV charging required the departments of Power and Transport, power distribution companies (DISCOMs) & land-owning agencies to work in tandem. A Working Group was formed including heads of all relevant Government departments, municipal corporations & DISCOMs for close coordination.
Availability of feasible & affordable sites: Land is scarce in Delhi & is under control of different civic bodies, of which many don't fall under the Delhi Government. 100 land parcels were aggregated after assessing technical & economic feasibility with minimum overlaps in administrative jurisdictions.
Economically viability: 2 of the biggest costs associated with setting up charging stations are leasing/ purchasing land & augmenting electrical infrastructure. The Government linked lease to revenue & provided 100KW of electrical connection on each site reducing this burden.
Conditions for Success
The political commitment of the leadership to ensure smooth coordination among various stakeholders, agencies and beneficiaries is a must.
A technology agnostic approach must be adopted by providing equivalent incentives to charging and swappable vehicle models, to ensure EV users can access a portfolio of options. The overall model should be economically viable for the concessionaires who deploy the charging infrastructure at these locations and operate and maintain these sites.
As EV charging is a rapidly evolving technology, chargers or swapping solutions installed today are at a risk of getting obsolete in the tender’s tenure. The tender design needs to ensure that new technology is already incorporated in the tender’s tenure. The Delhi government defined the mandated chargers in terms of power levels (based on the capacity of o-board chargers in priority vehicle segments) and provided flexibility with regard to power supply (AC or DC) and charger specifications.
The Delhi Model of EV charging is already influencing the India agenda on EV charging, with Niti Aoyog advising all states to form State Charging Infrastructure Committees whose outlined functions read like a copy of Delhi government’s order for constituting the Working Group.
The Delhi government decided to defray the costs associated with setting up charging stations by linking lease to revenue and providing 100 kW of electrical connection on each site. Delhi was the first state government to develop and incorporate both these innovations in its tender for public charging and swapping stations. In its guidelines on charging infrastructure published in January 2022, the Ministry of Power recommended the revenue sharing model and leveraging of public funds for upstream network augmentation.
The issue with EV charging can be resolved by providing a facilitative business opportunity for EV charging and swapping.The importance of providing business model flexibility cannot be overstated. The private operator should assess the site specifics and decide the combination of chargers, instead of Government mandates.
Incentives must benefit priority vehicle segment users the most while deregulating prices for non-priority vehicle segments. A scientific approach to sighting forms the cornerstone of successful public charging and swapping station deployment. It is important to ensure the coverage is extended to underserved and unserved areas. In Delhi, this was executed by clubbing prime and non-prime sites to create a package of sites.
Cities would do well to take a technology and solution agnostic approach to charging, encouraging technological and business model innovation.The best way to scale charging and swapping infrastructure deployment is to leverage existing public assets.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
25 January 2023