We Installed EV Chargers In Our Office And Here’s How They Power Our Travel Needs Now
Transportation has been making a shift to a battery powered future across the world. India is no different, with the Indian government having set a goal for 2030 to have 30 percent of the vehicle fleet run on an electric drivetrain. Following the suit, we decided to embrace the changing times and lo and behold! We installed EV charging stations in Times Internet Limited office campus.
There are chances that you have not seen an electric vehicle (EV) charging point till now, simply because they are still quite a few and scattered in the Indian landscape. But trust us when we say this, one look at the point and you will start imagining the future around it. After all, they are not much different from our regular fuel pumps. Just a bit more intimidating, with a plug point charger attached through a cable instead of a fuel dispenser. No flowing liquids, no spillage, no chances of fire, just a lot of invisible electrons flowing from one end to the other.
So how does it work?
Now that is about the visual effect. Next thing you might wonder about is the operational efficiency, more so in relation to the electric vehicles they will be powering. As for the working, the process is similar to gasoline vehicles. You park the vehicle in its vicinity, plug in the charger and let it do its magic. How it differs is the time taken by the entire process. While refuelling your vehicle hardly takes 5 minutes, recharging it fully will take about a couple of hours.
This should not come as a surprise, considering the fact that your smartphone’s 4000 mAh battery takes at least 20 to 30 minutes to charge fully. Needless to say, a vehicle’s battery is much bigger than that and hence correspondingly takes a lot more time.
But the thought itself might scare many and it is understandable. The simplest solution available as of now is to install the chargers in the places of rest/parking. Hence, we have a couple of them in our office. Got an electric vehicle? Simply park it at the spot and leave it charging. It will be fully charged by the time you end your shift and head back home.
Here for a purpose
We have only two chargers in the campus presently, probably reflecting the lack of EVs in India as of now. But as the automobile companies bring in their EV offerings in India, it is not hard to imagine a row of such charging points in parking lots charging a row of parked vehicles. All aboard!
Of course, we did not just install the charging points to “show off”, as some might believe. They serve their purpose with two EVs that we have in the office cab service fleet. One Tata Tigor EV and one Mahindra eVerito. Both have been deployed as a part of shuttle service between the office campus and the nearby metro stations.
TATA TIGOR EV AND MAHINDRA EVERITO (IMAGE: SARTHAK DOGRA/ INDIATIMES)
Now let us focus on some numbers for understanding of how the entire concept helps. The Tata Tigor EV delivers a range of 120 kms on a single charge (as claimed by the fleet operator), while the Mahindra eVerito can be driven around 110 kms (as claimed by the manufacturer) with the same power. As long as the vehicles are being employed for the short trips to the nearby metro stations, confined to within 10 kms (let us assume 10 for a to and fro trip for ease of calculations), both the cars can make a total of 23 trips out of the two battery capacities (120/10 +110/10) per day.
That is just for knowing how the so called “limited range” of EVs can come in handy for a limited commute. Even the Finance Ministry of India has realised this, recently mandating it for all the government departments to prefer electric vehicles over IC engine ones for official purposes.
Another big plus comes into limelight when EVs are compared to the gasoline vehicles on the basis of their impact to the environment. Consider this: on an average, one litre of petrol produces 2.3 kgs of CO2, along with several other air pollutants in minor quantities. For covering a total of 230 kms (combined range of both the EVs in consideration), we can assume a requirement of around 15 litres of petrol (taking an average mileage of 15 kmpl) for a petrol car. The numbers equate to a total of 34.5 kgs of CO2 produced by the vehicles for the same number of trips as above.
If the two EVs are completing the 23 trips every day, the petrol cars in their place would produce a whopping 12000+ kgs of CO2 over a year (if the trips are being made every day). Multiply this with the ‘n’ number of vehicles on the roads and you will get an idea of where all the air pollution is coming from.
But let us not say that the EVs are completely green because that might not be the truth. In case the electricity drawn to power them is coming from a conventional source like coal, they would have a carbon impact on the environment too. Maybe not directly but for sure. However, the point here is that the emissions can be controlled in the case of EVs if the source is a renewable/ sustainable one, like hydro or solar energy. And in either of the cases, the emissions would be much less than what the petrol vehicles spew out.
Better than before
The experience is a tad bit different for the commuters as well. Bhupinder from IndiaTimes, who is a regular user of the shuttle service explains: “The electric cars are much more silent than the previous (gasoline) ones. So much so that at times it is difficult to figure if the vehicle is on or off. It takes off much more smoothly in comparison too. The cars look like regular cars, so first time users are pleasantly surprised by the lack of noise.”
So that clears the fact that the two environment soldiers are serving their purpose. More importantly, they are being in trend with the changing times and making our transport cleaner and healthier in totality.
Putting the whole concept into action in our office premises might not imply that it is time for everyone to switch to EVs, considering the still pending challenges that they face. What it definitely means though, is that such steps will help in tackling these issues, one of which is the lack of chargers pan India.
So even though it might not be the right time for individuals to switch to EVs, organisations can definitely embrace the change. They can set up the required infrastructure, they can put the corresponding transport mechanism into action and who knows, maybe the Indian EV revolution will be propelled to the next level through such efforts.