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Can a Society Deny Permission to Charge Your EV? Here’s What You Should Know

What are the things you need to know before investing in an electric vehicle (EV)? And can you charge it in your building society parking? Here’s a complete list.

With an influx of a fleet of electric vehicles (EV), Indian roads are witnessing a massive transformation.

According to government guidelines, it is mandatory to set up an EV charging station at every 3 sq km area in cities, and 25 km on highways.

The urban overhaul to allow fast adoption of EVs is strong, as the central government is working towards creating a robust infrastructure, which also involves electrification of petrol pumps on priority.

In a bid to boost the EV industry, the government approved the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid &) Electric vehicles (FAME II) scheme in April 2019.

Additionally, the Ministry of Power issued an official address which states that the setting up of Public Charging Stations in India shall be a de-licensed activity.

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According to the document: “Any individual/entity is free to set-up public charging stations, provided that such stations meet the technical as well as performance standards and protocols, that are laid down by the Ministry of Power and Central Electricity Authority.”

Despite these guidelines in place, several EV owners continue to face problems with charging stations, especially those living in housing societies.

A recent incident in Bengaluru, Karnataka shed light on the on-ground challenges of EV owners.

Owner of the Ather electric scooter, Vish Ganti, was recently denied permission to install a charging station in the parking area of his society building.

But the vice president of product management and GM AutoGrid India, was not ready to take no for an answer. As a sign of protest, he loaded his electric scooter in the elevator and took it up to the fifth floor to charge it in his apartment.

Sharing his experience in a post that is now viral, he wrote, “You might have heard about Desi “Jugaad” but here is something I had to pull off today. Honestly, never thought a day like this would come. My apartment community in the so-called EV capital of India (Bangalore) wouldn’t let me install an EV charging point, after trying to educate them and fighting an uphill battle for 4 months. So I decided to load up my scooter in the elevator and bring it up to my unit on 5th floor to charge it in the kitchen, as a sign of protest and to create awareness of this ground reality. So much for the progress and all the rhetoric about EV charging in India (sic).”

He mentions in the post that his company, GM AutoGrid India, recently published an EV charging handbook to educate people about the importance of creating EV charging infrastructure.

He is not alone in this struggle. In a recent report, Mumbai resident Mayuresh Devasthali was not allowed to install a charging point for his newly bought electric car.

Their stories are some among the many reminders about the lack of understanding that residential communities and the general public has about EVs.

Things to know as an EV owner:

The incident at Hulimavu, Bannerghatta road of Bengaluru is a reminder of what your rights as an EV owner are and the demands you can legally make of the residents’ welfare association (RWA) and concerned authorities.

Vish Ganti’s viral post also shows a picture of his electric scooter parked in his kitchen. However, he adds a word of caution stating that it is only a symbolic representation to raise awareness and not to be replicated due to the risk of shock and fire.

Clarifying about the installation of personal charging points, deputy general manager of Smart Grid and Electric Vehicles, Bescom, C K Sreenath said to a publication, “EV owners staying in apartment complexes could use their existing individual power connections to set up charging points. RWAs who want to set up common charging points could approach Bescom to get power at a fixed rate of Rs 5 per unit. All RWAs should encourage residents to shift to EVs. If they approach us, we will conduct camps at these apartment complexes to create awareness and also to facilitate charging infrastructure.”

The first step to dispelling the apprehension around EVs is to educate oneself, and Vish Ganti’s post was a positive step towards that.

To promote the use of EVs, the government has offered a number of subsidies and incentives for EV owners and certain mandates for residential communities. For instance, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) amended its Model Building Byelaws (MBBL) 2016 to include the provision of EV charging in buildings.

In Chapter 10, Sustainability and Green Provisions, certain amendments have been made to promote the installation of semi-public charging stations in the community premises.

Under Section 10.4, titled “Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure”, residential housing societies should provide charging facilities for EVs at 20 per cent of all ‘vehicle holding capacity’/’parking capacity’ at the premises.

Additionally, the building premises are mandated to have an additional power load, which is equivalent to the power required for all charging points to be operated simultaneously, with a safety factor of 1.25.

These amendments are applicable to all buildings including, both commercial and residential societies, with an exception of independent residences.

For those, still unable to find a solution for charging EV batteries, swappable batteries provided by companies like Sun Mobility, Amara Raj Power Systems, RacEnergy and Lithium-ion Power can be a good alternative for the time being.

Barely consuming a few minutes, if you are a two or three-wheeler EV owner, you can head to their swapping stations located across major cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Chennai.

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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