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Helping India Kickstart E-mobility

In an interview with Avishek Banerjee, EESL MD Saurabh Kumar reveals how the company is working on the same model for the procurement of bulbs and electric cars

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Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), a 100 per cent government-owned entity was formed under India’s Ministry of Power to facilitate energy efficiency projects. In an interview with Avishek Banerjee, EESL MD Saurabh Kumar reveals how the company is working on the same model for the procurement of bulbs and electric cars.

EESL has been successful in enhancing the energy efficiency of the country. How did you achieve this?
We started off with the domestic lighting  ‘Ujala Programme’ about three years ago. And in the last three-and-a-half years, we have distributed 30 crore LED bulbs in the country and that has helped reduce demand by over 7,000 MW.  We have also replaced about 63 lakh bulbs in the country and have retrofitted about 8,000 government buildings, which are energy efficient.

As part of this whole exercise, we have initiated electric mobility, which is also important, in terms of energy efficiency. More importantly, it kickstarts the government’s big initiative on e-mobility. It has other positives of reducing air pollution if you have a large number of e-vehicles. The problem of air pollution that we are seeing all across the country will be arrested.

What are the three key prerequisites for EV sales in India?
1) You require some visibility of demand; 2) You also need some visibility as to how the charging infrastructure is being put out.  This has two aspects: one is the technical aspect with what kind of charging infrastructure you need. And what kind of cars will come in; and  3) Then there is the regulatory issue. What is the kind of tariffs that you will charge? a) To the charging station; and A) Charging station to the e-vehicle, that is, the end customers.

What is the status of the dispatch of 10,000 EVs that you have sourced through the tender?
The tender that is already under operation will be completed by March 2019.  So far, in Delhi alone, we have deployed about 140 cars, which are being used in various ministerial departments. A few numbers of cars have gone to other States, possibly Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, MP and Telangana.  With Andhra Pradesh, we already have an agreement that from August, every month we will provide 500 cars.

Also, Maharashtra has asked for about 1,000 cars. Gujarat is in the process of finalising (an order for) 2,000 cars. The first 10,000 is fully allocated up to March (2019).

In fact, we had a demand for more than 10,000 cars. Therefore we came up with a second tender (for e-cars).  The tender was issued in March. However, we have withdrawn it for a while. The reason is that the charging infrastructure, as I mentioned, is undergoing a change.

So, we thought it is best to wait for the specifications notified by the government. It is better to wait for the final notification before we proceed to the next tender.