By Cynthia Shahan
Helsinki-based clean energy company Fortum has announced timely and invigorating news for electric mobility expansion and the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure — across the vast country of India. India has only about 6,000 electric cars, but it is looking to swiftly move forward and actually aims to be the first fully electric car nation. The goal is to have only electric vehicles on the market by 2030. Whether you think the target is viable or not, there must be immediate opportunities for EV infrastructure leaders.
Fortum Charge & Drive — which will be involved in our coming Cleantech Revolution Tour conference and is part of our working group to create EV charging guidelines for cities — has stepped in to help electrify the country’s transportation fleet. The company already has a network of 1,480 smart chargers in Europe, out of which 500 are DC quick chargers, but it recently jumped quite far from there to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NBCC, a blue-chip Government of India Navratna Enterprise under the Ministry of Urban Development. The MoU commits to the development of charging infrastructure in the country.
India is making waves that other governments should emulate. CleanTechnica’s James Ayre reports, “The government of India has agreed to purchase 10,000 new electric vehicles from India’s Tata Motors as part of a bid to replace the diesel- and petrol/gas-powered cars currently used by government agencies there, a public statement has revealed.”
CleanTechnica’s Saurabh Mahapatra, based in Delhi, India, reported earlier this week that Mahindra & Mahindra would invest over $600 million into electric vehicles and launch electric versions of existing crossover sport utility vehicles shortly.
The Fortum and NBCC infrastructure plans and agreement will cover all significant activities in the value chain: Planning, designing, investment, and operation of the charging infrastructure using a cloud-based system.
“Fortum has installed one 22 KW AC charger as a pilot in NBCC premises in New Delhi, which shall be operated using Fortum’s cloud-based system. The charging station was inaugurated by Finland’s Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment, Mr. Kimmo Tiilikainen, in the presence of Dr. Anoop Kumar Mittal, Chairman cum Managing Director, NBCC.”
Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen points out that the vast country of India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Tilliakainen continues, “While the rapid growth puts a strain on the environment, it also opens extensive opportunities. Technological expertise of Finnish companies can be leveraged to support the sustainable development of Indian economy and energy sector.”
Mr. Arto Räty, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Communications, Fortum Corporation, echoes that importance of the market in India. Räty identifies (in regards to charging infrastructure) that reliable hardware and software as well as responsive customer support are crucial to the end-user experience. “We have developed Fortum Charge & Drive to meet these demands, paving the way for the more widespread and efficient use of electric vehicles.”
“Fortum has ventured in India, making it the first country outside Europe in the Charge & Drive space. The plans include developing charging infrastructure along with the cloud-based system (SAAS). Starting with this pilot in New Delhi, Charge & Drive plan to roll out more than 150 charging stations over a period of next 12–18 months.”
“Charge & Drive aims to respond to an increasing global demand in e-mobility, by providing a turnkey solution for B2B and B2G, creating public charging network as well as providing world-class cloud solutions for an interactive end-user interface and a comprehensive back-end system that supports charge point operators in the remote management of charging stations.”