Leveraging on its deep presence in India, Vakrangee plans to become an enabler for the electric vehicle (EV) charging facility through its network of retail outlets called as Vakrangee Nextgen Kendras.
At present, Vakrangee has 3,504 Nextgen outlets spread across 19 states, 366 districts and 2,186 postal codes, of which more than 68% are in Tier 5 and Tier 6 cities. The company plans to increase the number of Nextgen outlets to at least 75,000 by FY2021-22 and 300,000 by FY2024-25.
“For all operators who want to set up EV services in India, it will make sense to leverage our charging infrastructure rather than building one of their own. We are building a large charging footprint on a pan India basis through our network of Nextgen Vakrangee Kendra Outlets”—read a company statement.
Asserting that EV sector offer a huge growth opportunity, executive chairman Dinesh Nandwana said, “We believe that the electric vehicle space is a huge growth opportunity for the coming years and we want to be future ready by developing a pan India footprint of EV charging infrastructure. We would be an enabler by providing the distribution platform for the EV charging facility through our partnership with the EV service providers.”
Notably, “the Indian government expects 25% of the total vehicles on roads to be electric vehicles by 2030, necessitating erection of robust EV charging infrastructure across the country”—the company quoted from the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
As per the guidelines, there should be at least one station at every 25 km on each side of the highways/roads.
Incorporated in 1990, Vakrangee has set up last-mile retail outlets to deliver real-time banking and financial services, ATM, insurance, e-governance, e-commerce and logistics services to the unserved rural, semi-urban and urban markets. The assisted digital convenience stores—called as Vakrangee Kendras—act as a one-stop shop for availing various services and products.
EV infrastructure: current scenario
To instill confidence among EV users, Phase II of FAME Scheme envisages support for setting up of adequate public charging infrastructure through active participation and involvement of various stakeholders including government agencies, industries and public sector enterprises.
The scheme has earmarked a budget of Rs1000 crore for establishment of charging infrastructure over a 3-year period from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
Six projects for setting up of EV charging infrastructure have been funded under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Scheme. These include four solar projects, with Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments, Jaipur (REIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) setting up two each.
Among conventional infrastructure, Mahindra Reva Electric has received funding for its public fast charging infrastructure network in Bangalore, which it will set up in collaboration with Lithium Urban Technologies. REIL will set up 200 charging stations in Delhi NCR, Jaipur and Chandigarh.
While REIL will set up the solar based EV charging stations in Delhi NCR as well as Delhi-Jaipur-Delhi and Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai highways, BHEL’s infrastructure will come up at Udyog Bhawan and Delhi-Chandigarh-Delhi Highway.
So far, Energy Efficiency Services Limited under the Ministry of Power has installed 209 AC chargers (slow) and 132 DC chargers (Fast) at government offices all over India.
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