Electric vehicles (EVs), batteries and charging equipment could be brought under the standardisation and labelling (S&L) programme of the government to define their efficiency using the star-rating method.
What this means for potential customers is that it will help them choose the most energy-efficient EVs. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a government agency under the Ministry of Power, has been tasked to form the S&L programme for the EV industry.It could provide star ratings to EVs, batteries and supply equipment (EVSE) that would look similar to energy ratings given to 26 appliances and equipment under the S&L programme by BEE.
The need for ratings is felt, given that EVs are at a very nascent stage in India, making up less than 1 percent of total auto sales. The ratings could help EV buyers make an informed decision.
White goods like air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines are given such ratings on a scale of one to five stars, where five stars mean the most energy-efficient.
Speaking at the India Energy Storage Week organised by India Energy Storage Alliance, Sameer Pandita, Director, BEE, said: “We are introducing standardising and labelling programmes to standardise the performance of the batteries as well as the performance of DC chargers. In a month’s time, we will launch the go-electric programme to create awareness about e-mobility.”
A similar star-rating programme was planned for launch in 2016 but for vehicles powered by internal combustion engines that run on petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG. The ratings were to be calculated based on the fuel consumed by the vehicle covering a distance of 100km.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways even issued a draft notification, specifying the design and shape of the star-rating stickers pasted on vehicles. There is no fresh update on this initiative.
EV sales see robust growth
Thanks to new launches, EVs recorded a strong growth in sales last year, albeit on a lower base despite the broader slowdown seen in the rest of the auto industry.
As per data shared by the Society of Manufacturer of Electric Vehicles, sales of EVs (excluding e-rickshaws), during 2019-20, grew by 20 percent to 1.56 lakh units over 2018-19, when the industry clocked 1.3 lakh units. Around 90,000 e-rickshaws are estimated to have been sold last year. Rest of the auto industry contracted by 18 percent last year.
In October, the Department of Heavy Industries had invited companies to set up electric vehicle charging stations on major existing and upcoming expressways and highways. The government envisages one charging station every 25 km to assuage consumer anxiety on charging and facilitate faster adoption of EVs.
Pandita added that for India to expedite electric mobility adoption, it is essential to have supportive battery storage plans. “India is planning to have 40 gigawatt hour (GWh) of batteries storage. So, there is a need to standardise the batteries (as well)”. As per NITI Aayog, creating a capacity of 10 GWh lithium-ion cell manufacturing requires $1 billion investment.