Apartment complexes required to have an electric vehicle charging point

Electric vehicles have become increasingly popular in the wake of heightened environmental awareness and government push to the adoption and penetration of EVs under the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and EV) launched in 2015. Customers are gradually waking up to the many benefits of EVs, such as zero emissions, less maintenance, and lower running costs. However, currently, there are several roadblocks to making the FAME mission a success owing to several reasons. Longer recharge times, unavailability of adequate infrastructure for charging stations, limited range due to low capacity batteries are a few of the main problems that the corporate and government sectors are trying to resolve. 

Electric vehicles (EV) sale in India is projected to grow at 43.13% from 2019 to 2030 while the charging infrastructure (CI) is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 42.38% in the coming years, according to research. With more and more EVs plying the road and residents purchasing them in more numbers in cities, housing societies have to make way for charging infrastructure. 

In 2019, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs released a directive for alloting parking space for electric vehicles in residential and commercial areas. 

According to the new policy, a minimum “20% of all vehicle holding capacity/parking capacity” at the premise is required to be reserved for EVs in residential and commercial buildings. Guidelines with respect to the amendment to Model Building Bye-Laws state that, “Additionally, the building premise will have to have an additional power load, equivalent to the power required for all charging points (in a Public Charging Station) to be operated simultaneously, with a safety factor of 1.25.”

What this means for a housing society is that they will have to take stock of their current parking situation and make room for electric vehicles while also making arrangements for infrastructure to bear additional power load in the premises. Individuals with EVs must have a domestic meter with slow chargers that are required as per the EV. The mode of charging is a single charging gun.

However, power load sanction within the premises, according to the bye-laws, state that, “load capacity assigned to each premise should be kept with a safety factor of 1.25 with a long-term vision of 30 years.” 

The guidelines further give specifications for private charging as well, which is AC slow charging for private buildings and grounds as opposed to DC fast charging for public charging outside of residential premises. The ownership of the charging station is private, to be paid by the member, i.e. charging infrastructure installed by a homeowner is meant for self-use (non-commercial basis). In the context of slow charging, it further explains, “The home private chargers are generally used with 230V/15A single-phase plug which can deliver a maximum of up to about 2.5KW of power. The Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) supplies AC current to the vehicle’s onboard charger which in turn converts the AC power to DC allowing the battery to be charged.”

EV owners should also ensure that the socket to charge the vehicle should be connected to their meter. It’s not necessary that the charging socket should be installed only in close proximity to the meter room. It could be installed near the EV parking space and the wall can be insulated for safety. Open parking spaces can also have charging points on a nearby wall or pillar (or any mounting structure) with connected wires on the ground, but they should be secured firmly in a way that they’re not damaged. 

The government also suggests that the cost of power consumed by the individual charging unit connected to the metering system should be included in the resident’s monthly maintenance bill. Buildings are also responsible for accommodating open metering so that visitors can charge their EVs. Spot payment options should be made available under such circumstances.

Societies should approach a reliable EV charging solutions agency for installing charging units in the premises as going DIY with uncertified service staff might cause maintenance and operational issues in the future. 

In Phase II of the FAME scheme, the government has already approved 2636 charging stations in 62 cities; residential societies in these cities will find it easy to hire vendors that can provide end-to-end solutions to installing the infrastructure.

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