Amidst the Centre's push for use of Electric Vehicles (EVs), the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) released draft regulations on stringent safety provisions for charging stations. These regulations — titled CEA (Measures relating to Safety and Electric Supply) Amendment Regulations 2019 — envisage installation of strong fire-fighting systems comprising fire-detection, alarm, and control system. Further, it will be binding on the owner to ensure tests specified in the manufacturer's instructions for the residual current device and the charging station have been carried out.
All EV charging stations must have protection against the overload of input and output supply fittings. The socket-outlet supply must be placed at least 800 millimeters above furnished ground level. The entire enclosure must be made of fire retardant material with self-extinguishing properties and must be free from halogen.
Furthermore, the owner will have to ensure that the charging station is tested and inspected every year in the first three years after energization, and every four years thereafter. The owner will have to establish and implement a safety assessment program for regular periodic assessment of electrical safety.
A chief engineer at CEA said the requirement of inspection by an electrical inspector before energization may be reviewed as per the norms of self-certification adopted by the respective distribution company. If required, format for self-certification of charging stations will be finalized by CEA. He further added that the type of charging station may be decided as per market conditions and roll-out plan of EVs.
Harry Dhaul, general director of Independent Power Producers Association of India, however, said there is lack of clarity and vision on the future of EVs as if the charging stations are powered by solar energy, it poses a problem for devices that will line up for charging at night or during off-peak periods when solar energy is unavailable or not at its optimum.
It is not clear whether electricity storage is generation, transmission or consumption," says Dhaul, "An EV charging station will need a large amount of utility-level storage, which does not come under the purview of the Electricity Act 2003. In the absence of a lack of clarity, it becomes critical to note that all EVs subject to electricity ecosystem, regulations and policies should not remain just in the transport realm."
Rahul Walawalkar, president of India Energy Storage Alliance, which represents EV charging and storage companies said safety is important for sustainable growth of both the energy storage system and EV infrastructure in the country. "The steps taken by CEA in formulating safety standards and setting up accountability for safety are timely as they are critical to consumer confidence," he noted. He informed that the national market can deploy over 300 GWh of energy storage in stationary and EV space by 2025.
CEA's draft regulations are in line with the notification issued by the Ministry of Power (MoP) in December 2018. MoP had suggested that be one charging station in a grid of 3x3 km, one charging station every 25 km on both sides of a highway, and one fast-charging station every 100 km. They will have to be established based on proper load flow studies otherwise, it will lead to stressing of distribution networks.
Draft regulations propose that the owner will maintain records pertaining to design, construction, and labeling to be compatible with a supply of standard voltage at a nominal frequency of 50 Hz of the charging station. Moreover, the owner will have to maintain records of the results of every inspection, testing, and periodic assessment.
- All EV charging stations must have protection against the overload of input and output supply fittings
- The socket-outlet supply must be placed at least 800 millimeters above furnished ground level
- The enclosure must be made of fire retardant material with self-extinguishing properties and must be free from halogen