The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will install charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) every 40 to 60 kilometres on national highways.
National Highways Coverage
The target has been set in order to encourage the use of EVs.
Road Secretary and NHAI chairman Giridhar Aramane said that by 2023 NHAI is planning to cover 35,000-40,000 km of national highways with charging stations.
In the next two years alone, 700 charging stations should be set up.
Aramane said that those traveling by EVs should not fear the car breaking down due to lack of charging infrastructure.
Also important is to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels to power its vehicles.
This is causing not only concerning levels of air pollution but with rising costs every day, also an economic concern.
Amenities along highways will now also include EV charging facilities apart from restaurant, toilets, drivers’ resting rooms, and petrol and diesel dispensing machines.
The NHAI has invited bids for setting up 100 such wayside amenities.
Once the bids are awarded, it will take six months for the work to complete.
The size of the plots to build the amenities will vary between two and four hectares.
Four-lane roads and highways will have a two-hectare parcel of land.
More land will be available for greenfield projects like the Delhi-Mumbai expressway.
A special purpose vehicle called the National Highways Logistics Management Ltd has been set up which would handle implementation of wayside amenities, besides other projects such as Multi-Modal Logistic Parks and port connectivity roads.
It is a steep target for the government to achieve by 2030.
A report by Grant Thornton Bharat-Ficci says that India needs around four lakh charging stations for 20 lakh EVs by the year 2026.
Other areas it needs to focus on are increasing government support, decreasing the cost of technology, and distressing pollution levels to accelerate this transition.
However, there is some hope yet since EV sales in India have reached 1.3% in the fiscal year (FY) 20-21, a long way to go but baby steps first.