The new made-in-India EV charging standard for bikes and scooters: here’s why it matters
Context- The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has approved an indigenously developed AC and DC combined charging connector standard for light electric vehicles (LEVs) such as scooters, bikes, and rickshaws. Electric vehicle (EV) charging connector standards are conceptually similar to charging connector standards for mobile phones, such as the USB Type-C charger or Apple’s lightning charger.
(European-style combined charging system (left) and Europe-style Type 2 connector for AC charging and slow DC charging (right). )
(Credits: Wikimedia Commons)
The new standard, ISI7017 (Part 2 / Sec 7): 2023, cleared by BIS last week, has been developed through collaboration among NITI Aayog, the Department of Science and Technology, electric two-wheeler maker Ather Energy, and various other government and industry stakeholders.
What is special about the new EV charging standard for scooters and bikes?
- The indigenously developed charging standard is the first in the world that combines alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) for LEVs. Combined AC and DC charging standards for electric four-wheelers are already in use around the world, like the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard that is widely used in Europe.
- A combined charging standard is attractive because of its interoperability — which means that it can be used by different kinds of EV models and charging infrastructure providers.
But why is a national standard needed for India?
- In India, EV makers are not mandated to follow a specific standard for charging connectors. Thus, electric two-wheeler makers such as Ola Electric, Ather Energy, and Ultraviolette Automotive, all use different charging standards for their EVs, much like how Apple phones until recently used a lightning port and Android phones use a USB Type-C port.
- Unlike with phones, however, too many charging standards for EVs makes it difficult for public charging stations to cater to each individual type, thus adding to range anxiety — the fear that the vehicle would run out of charge, and there will be nowhere to recharge it.
- Even now, although the new approved standard fixes the problem of different standards for AC and DC charging by creating a combined standard, it does not mandate EV makers to use a uniform standard that can help address range anxiety and promote faster adoption of EVs.
What is the situation in other countries around the world?
- The world’s largest electric car market in terms of both sales and vehicles on the road, uses a national standard for EV charging connectors that is called GB/T. The national standard, along with one of the densest networks of charging stations in the world, has allowed China to productively address concerns around range anxiety.
- The US does not have a national standard, but EV makers have been collaborating to push for some degree of standardisation.
- For instance, Ford and General Motors (GM) are adopting the North American Charging Standard (NACS) developed by Tesla, so that their EVs can access Tesla’s network of fast chargers across North America.
- In Europe, CCS is the predominant charging connector standard, and is also a European Union (EU) requirement for EV charging networks.
- For its European market, Tesla equips all its cars with CCS charging ports, and also integrates CCS in its public chargers, known as Superchargers, which can be accessed by both Tesla and other EV drivers.
- Japan’s predominant charging standard is called CHAdeMO, a charging standard developed in 2010. CHAdeMO is being phased out in North America, where the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are among the few EVs that are only compatible with CHAdeMO charging stations.
Conclusion- Harmonization in charging standards will ensure ease of operation of e-vehicles for customers . It will provide impetus to the e-vehicle industry by increasing demand going forward.
Syllabus- GS-3; Renewable Energy
Source- Indian Express