Every business is connected to the grid and 15 Amp level 2 sockets are common in India.
Raphae raised a good point - So why not tap into this already existing infrastructure and create community charging stations?
The government and the automobile companies can install the level 3 - DC quick charging stations on highways and only do so much. But the community can surely help by installing normal points, right?
Now where do we install these charging stations?
What we have realized over the years is that having charging stations within city limits is not a great idea. As people charge at home or work. These remain unused. Of course you could have some stations at the city limits in big cities.
But what is really hindering electric vehicles is the fact of their 'limited' range. When i say limited, i mean that the range of a modern EV is more than enough for 90% of people who just commute in the city. What becoming limiting is that you could not take your efficient electric car or an e-bike to popular weekend destinations, which are outside the city.
This is where community charging stations come in.
These charging stations will be setup all around cities at a distance of 60-70-80 km at popular weekend destinations or places where people would like to drive their EV's.
We have created a dedicated page for the community to create and register these stations. Here is the link.
As of June 27th 2015, we have 5 community charging stations already setup and can be used by the community.
So guys, what do you think? We would love know your thoughts. Do comment below.
If you like the idea, spread the word and register more of these stations in our site. This project is for the community and by the community. Lets have red dots in the map all around our cities.
This will encourage more people to consider using these clean and green vehicles.
- I call my friend who lives in Lonavala, around 50 km from Pune, which is a popular weekend destination. In the rains this place comes alive with waterfalls, huge lakes and stunning hilly scenery. So a perfect spot for a community charging point.
- My friend told me to contact an owner of a garage (Running since 1970!), near the highway. The owner was very enthusiastic and even installed 15 Amp sockets. So i go home happy and promised to come back next Sunday to take pics, install a board etc.
- Next Sunday, i get some boards printed and head to the Garage. My friend who has an electric car too joins me.
What we realized is that this garage is bang on the main roads and every Saturday and Sunday, there is crazy traffic. People coming from Mumbai to Lonavala for the weekend, cram the narrow road with vehicles and its just a mess.
On top of that, the garage is overcrowded with vehicles and there is no space to charge our EV's. We wait for few hours and somehow manage to fill some juice into our EV's.
- The garage owner, then realizes that he cannot help us as his garage is always crowded. He was feeling very bad and even apologized. Sweet guy. I asked him, if he had another contact in and around town for my purpose. He said he will get back to me.
- I then contact the following businesses in Lonavala and the response was not that great.
Restaurants - Most of them are full all the time and dont have space to provide for a charging station.
Garages - They have the sockets ready, but don't have space.
High End Resorts - The manager bluntly told me that they would support the cause only if we were their customers!
Petrol/Gas Station - The manager at one station, asked me a rent of Rs 5000! I politely walked away :)
- It was frustrating. Also i did not have time/bandwidth to talk to more people, so it was tough. I'm sure there are broad minded people in Lonavala who would support my cause, but i just did not know them!
- Anyway the garage owner who, i contacted last week gave me a contact of his friend, who owns a small garage just 4 km away in Khandala (another scenic mountain town).
- This time i go on a Wednesday, as i wanted to avoid the mad crowd on Sundays to meet Mr Allaudin, the owner of Khandala garage (since 1980s).
- Mr Allaudin is very enthusiastic person and was totally okay to offer this service. He already has 4 - 15 amp sockets at his garage. Also he had a nice covered shed for charging, which is a plus. There is hardly any traffic here. Its nice and peaceful. His garage is an old one. He only does occasional work. He sells more Lonavala Chikkis in his adjacent shop! So this was a perfect spot. I really liked it. I tested the sockets and all was good, there was earthing.
I charge my car and took a walk to the scenic viewpoints just 5 min away.
This is just 1 spot. A city like Pune has so many weekend destinations due to the proximity of the western mountains and huge lakes. So a lot more needs to be done. By the way the people at Lavasa (a planned city in the mountains some 45 km from Pune) called me and told me they have installed 6 sockets. I'm going and checking them out. We will also be doing an event soon.
Now all of a sudden, this community charging station thing is blowing up!
How do i setup a Charging Station?
Delhi Community Charging Stations
Pune Community Charging Stations