Indian Oil eyes 50 pct of car charging market

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the country’s largest oil refiner and retailer, has shifted its focus to have more than 50% market share of the electric vehicle charging and infrastructure space as the country moves to convert its passenger and commercial vehicles to electric by 2030.

The PSU oil marketer is the first oil company to start a pilot project for charging of electric vehicles at its fuel station.

The initiative, in partnership with Ola Cabs, in Nagpur will serve the cab aggregator’s electric vehicle fleet. IOC aims to meet the electrical energy requirements of vehicles from its entire 26,500 retail outlets in future.

Murali Srinivasan, executive director at Indian Oil, told FE if the country has to achieve the 100% electric vehicles target by 2030, it would be inconceivable without including oil and gas retail outlets as the source for setting up charging facilities.

“At IOC, we have a vision to have 50% market share of the entire gamut of energy space we work in. As the EV infrastructure will grow, our participation will not be less than 50%,” Srinivasan said. Once the network grows, the company plans to set up manufacturing facilities for lithium-ion batteries and it will consider retailing them as well.

The company may look at dealerships as well as the company-owned and company-operated (COCO) model for charging facilities. IOC has around 2,000 COCO outlets and around 26,500 retail outlets as on date, from where it can start rolling out the charging infrastructure, Srinivasan said.

The company doesn’t envisage any direct impact on the security of hydrocarbon business in foreseeable future, as the growth in demand for petroleum products is expected to maintain the 5.6% CAGR witnessed over the last 15 years. But if there is direct hit on the exchequer as the country imports 82% of total crude requirement, “then we will get into any alternate source of fuel which will help our transport system to move,” he said.

However, there are lot of negotiations required between the automobile companies, oil companies and charging station providers. At present, per unit of electricity costs between `4 and `22, which would not be viable for either the government or service providers.

Hence, there has to be a mid way such as `10-12/unit rate. Besides, the segment will require huge subsidies such as in China without any profit and gain model to bring the scale. The company would be looking at the AC and the DC model of charging stations where DC would take around 90 minutes to charge the battery, while the AC model will take 5-6 hours.

Tesla has, however, tested a charging facility that would take around 6 minutes.

The pilot project at Nagpur will charge around 30 vehicles per day from its three charging stations. But that is just a start of the electric vehicle journey in the country.