Should Cities Provide Free Electric Vehicle (Ev) Charging?
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Should Cities Provide Free Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging?

Affordably priced and easily accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is a key precondition for widespread EV adoption. To achieve an electric transportation future, governments must prioritise the development of the necessary charging infrastructure — one that can sustain the desired car numbers.

While there is no ideal EV to charging station ratio to aim for, each country will need to develop solutions that are fit for purpose to meet its electric transportation demands. As a result, governments will need to establish objectives, standards, and funding mechanisms to expedite the transition. In India, both national and state regulations regulate the shift to electric transportation.

Currently, 12 states have EV policies (written and approved), while the national government administers the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME II) initiative. The purpose of this article is to determine if state and federal government policies are sufficient to facilitate the development of an EV charging network in India.

While developing and executing a healthy and comprehensive charging infrastructure throughout a city is no easy feat, price problems such as whether charging should be fee-based or free to drivers are becoming a national discussion point. Cities are adapting to the electric vehicle movement's requirements. However, should they provide free EV charging?

The electricity ministry is targeting cities with a population of more than 4 billion in the first phase of its EV deployment plan. In the second phase, it intends to cover all state capitals, union territories, important roads, and vital cities.

"At least one public charging station will be installed in metropolitan areas on a grid of three-by-three kilometres (km). At least one fast charging station is planned for every 100 kilometres on highways "Vivek Kumar Dewangan, the ministry's joint secretary, stated at an industry event here.

In April of last year, the Power ministry declared that charging electric vehicles is not a regulated business and would be treated as a service. The de-licensing ensured that any organisation in the nation can establish a public charging station.

Later, the ministry's planning agency, the Central Electricity Authority, established technical and safety standards for e-vehicle charging infrastructure. In December 2018, the public charging standard standards and rules for EVs were informed.

The ministry amended its charging infrastructure standards for EVs last month in response to stakeholder feedback. The new standards addressed the positioning of public charging stations.

"Within the next ten days, we will be able to finalise the agencies responsible for setting up EV charging infrastructure in the country, in response to the overwhelming interest expressed by various stakeholders and agencies," Dewangan said during an international workshop on "Policy framework for deploying Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure in India." He stated that the ministry is dedicated to increasing renewable energy's contribution in the entire energy mix to 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 and to 450 GW by 2030.

A zero-cost electric vehicle charging model:

Free charging may entice drivers to plug ‘n charge regardless of the cost. This is helpful for towns that want customers to shop and enjoy the sights without limiting their consumption, as their EV charge is included in their trip expenditures, reducing the amount of money they spend in the local economy.

It's also a lure for locals who may view free EV charging as an added advantage of attending downtown events - getting them out and about and supporting the local economy. And, just as folks new to your community may consider crime rates and school districts when deciding where to live, the availability to electric charging stations may become a concern as well.

Additionally, selling advertising might be a method to recuperate some of the expenses associated with installation and maintenance without passing those costs on to the consumer. At the very least, communities get to demonstrate their environmental commitment to carbon reduction by putting free stations across the city. Let's look at some alternatives available - 

Subscription

This model may be profitable but does need a monthly or annual subscription cost. Some vehicles, like Tesla, utilise a subscription model tailored to its owners. Subscription models vary, with the equivalent model being that of purchasing a bus pass from the DOT in your region. Companies in your city may wish to provide free charging stations for customers or compensate for the cost of paying the DOT's membership by providing employees with prepaid perks.

This enables companies to add to their incentive package to recruit better workers and thereby helps keep the community populated. Stretching communities and commuting towns who may want to top off on the occasional fast charge but are less inclined to utilise a per session or other paid model might also benefit from this option. In this case, city residents might receive money from the customer in a subscription without restricting the number of times or hours citizens may utilise the service.

On a per-session basis

As consumers, people like to charge their devices for free, but for most locations, the most often used model is pay-as-you-go. The pay-per-session pricing model might be used to accomplish that. The station speeds might vary greatly. This option gives drivers the chance to do both: shop while they wait for a full battery, and go to local activities while not monitoring the clock.

For rural regions that intend to attract drivers who will require a full charge between destinations, such as road trips and far destinations, it makes the most sense to instal many of Level 2 chargers. A period of time between visits to your service will render the ‘per session' pricing structure prohibitively costly.

Power Usage Per Kilowatt Hour

As with gas station per-gallon prices, customers are able to link time to wattage via per kilowatt-hour pricing. This will no doubt influence drivers' decisions on where they will charge their car, similar to the way consumers' decisions on where to buy gasoline change based on price swings.

Not only does this allow you to connect the customer to power as a resource, but it also brings the topic of rates, resource sustainability, tariffs, and more into the discussion. This pricing model is difficult to follow, as customers may either charge at home or, if they work, be able to do so for free, which means there may be restrictions on how much demand they can place on the market.

Hourly Basis

EV charging stations work in a similar way to parking metres. They restrict the amount of time you can charge your vehicle by how many kilowatts of power you have and the credit card you use to pay at the parking lot. In cities and smaller towns, competition between high-efficiency and low-efficiency charging stations is negligible, and therefore using these types of chargers can save consumers money.

In congested conditions, when several different charging stations are available, drivers are more inclined to charge at stations that would provide them a full battery in the shortest amount of time. In order for this alternative to be practical, both corporations and citizens must be able to operate as power resellers and electrical regulations must be limited.

The charging price model is a major factor in the electric vehicle (EV) charging stations' success.

Even though a few communities in the countries like the U.S. have decided to shoulder the costs of EV charging by eliminating free charging, this strategy is both unclear and, most likely, short-lived. The pay-to-charge model is used to recuperate operating expenses for municipalities. Fees are a method for towns to help share operating costs with customers.

However, free electric vehicle charging may help further the use of electric vehicles, while also highlighting your dedication to sustainability. While this isn't intended to be a long-term strategy for increasing overall income, it's worth exploring at least one of the various EV business models. 

Many towns hope to see increased income by having EV charging stations and EV maintenance required as part of a construction permit, comparable to parking places for the disabled. Removing EV charging fees from drivers' budgets makes it easier for everyone to drive electric and promotes greater income as the number of EVs on the road rises. 

One thing is certain: demand for electric vehicle charging stations is skyrocketing. Are you prepared? Or are you going to have to play catch-up this decade?

Need to know more?

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