Tata Power to set up EV charging points at HPCL pumps

An EV charger at an HP pump

Tata Power, one of the country’s largest power generation and distribution companies, said it has signed an agreement to set up electric vehicle charging points at the petrol pumps operated by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd or HPCL.

The two companies, however, did not disclose the estimated number of such charging stations that will be put up, or the pace of the roll-out.

It is likely that the charging stations will be put up only in those outlets where there is space for setting them up. HPCL has a total of 18,000 retail outlets in India.

Many inner city petrol pumps tend to be highly congested and would not be able to support EV charging points.

Tata Power is India’s largest operator of EV charging points, with more than 500 such charging stations located in over 100 cities in India.

Charging locations are crucial to the uptake of electric mobility in India — a segment in which another Tata company, Tata Motors, is the market leader.

Tata Motors’ Nexon EV is one of the most popular and affordable electric vehicle in India. However, the car can travel only 200-250 km per charge in realistic conditions, depending on various factors such as road congestion, road condition, speed, load and terrain.

The limited range of electric vehicles is the main obstacle in the way of larger adoption of electric vehicles in India.

However, the second major obstacle is the time required to charge the battery. The regular charger takes several hours to fully charge a car battery.

For example, the regular charger inside the Nexon EV outputs a power of only 3000 watts to the battery. Given that the car has a 30,000 watt-hour battery, the onboard charger takes around 10 hours to fully charge the battery pack.

However, in countries such as the US, there are high-powered, external ‘fast chargers’ that allow a user to get a charge of around 150-200 km in 30 minutes. Such charging technology makes it possible for people to get their car charged at a restaurant parking lot by the time they finish their breakfast or lunch.

In case of Nexon, it is possible to achieve a charge of 80% in 70 minutes by using a high-powered, external charger.

Normally, all public charging points are equipped with such fast chargers that output DC or direct current that charge the battery at 6-8 times the normal speed. However, Tata Power has not disclosed what kind of charger will be put up at the petrol pumps.

Under the latest agreement, Tata Power said it will provide state-of-the-art EV Charging infrastructure at HPCL pumps.

“The partnership will play a strong role in encouraging EV owners to charge their electric vehicles across various petrol pumps. It is also in line with the Government of India’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) which aims to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure using the latest technological platform along with easy access to electric vehicle for charging points,” it said.

Sandeep Bangia, Head of EV Charging for Tata Power, said the focus will be on petrol pumps in cities and along the key highways.

“The move will tremendously benefit the EV users as it will not only provide them easy access to charging points but also remove the range anxiety, resulting in wider adoption of electric vehicles in the country.”