The electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is set to expand within cities as fleet electrification gains momentum. While the focus of charging operators has mainly been on highways, the permission granted to private electric fleets to operate within cities has opened up new opportunities for the establishment of public charging stations.
Earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu government passed an order allowing commercial passenger fleets to operate electric cars, catching up with other states that had already implemented fleet electrification. This decision has led cab operators, such as New Pandian Travels (NPT), to incorporate electric sedans into their fleets for corporate staff transportation. NPT, a leading private transport services provider, has deployed approximately 70 Tata Xpress-T EV sedans in Chennai, with plans to add a total of 100 electric vehicles to their fleet.
With the low operational cost of electric vehicles and the focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals by corporations, more fleet operators, including prominent players like Ola and Uber, are expected to adopt EVs in Chennai.
To meet the increasing demand for charging infrastructure, EV charging operators are exploring various options. Zeon Electric Pvt Ltd, for example, intends to collaborate with fleet operators like NPT to establish captive charging hubs at various locations. Furthermore, Zeon aims to partner with NPT’s corporate clients and developers of Information Technology (IT) parks to install charging stations within their premises. These charging hubs will serve as captive chargers for fleet vehicles utilized for employee transportation.
As fleet electrification gains traction in cities across Tamil Nadu, the need for additional charging points becomes apparent. Currently, charging station deployment has mostly focused on highways to cater to individual EV owners. However, limited availability of real estate has been a significant challenge in setting up charging stations within city limits such as Chennai. The CEO and Co-Founder of Zeon Electric Pvt Ltd, K P Karthikeyan, suggests that opening up spaces owned by government entities such as the Corporation of Chennai, railway authorities, or metro authorities for public charging stations would facilitate the expansion of the charging infrastructure and accelerate the state’s decarbonization efforts in the transportation sector.
Overall, the expansion of the charging network within Tamil Nadu cities is crucial to support the growing fleet electrification and to meet the increasing demand for convenient and accessible charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
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