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MBA Student at PDPU Maps Charging Infra for Electric Vehicles, Wins BS Best B-School Project Award 2018

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Nimesh Shah, a final-year MBA student at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University’s (PDPU) School of Petroleum Management in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, has won the first prize at the Business Standard Best B-School Project Award 2018.

Shah won the prize for his project on mapping the availability of charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Bengaluru for Sun Mobility, a company involved in designing innovative solutions for Electric Vehicles.

The 27-year-old Shah took up the project after the Karnataka government announced a policy to introduce 5,000 new electric-auto rickshaws in Bengaluru, as part of steps to curb pollution caused by vehicular exhaust fumes.

Shah’s objective was to identify locations for charging/battery swapping stations for these e-autos across the city. In the end, the project identified strategic locations where such stations could be deployed.

He was quoted by the Business Standard newspaper as saying that it was imperative to have the charging infrastructure in place to promote the use of electric vehicles. He made use of data and cutting-edge tools to frame a strategic methodology for putting in place the charging infrastructure, the lack of which has been a major hurdle in the way of large-scale adoption of EVs.

Shah says he developed a holistic model of deploying charging infrastructure in a city by factoring in key parameters, like the city mobility pattern, electricity tariffs and infrastructure. The charging infrastructure will be deployed in such a way that assures higher utilisation of chargers and enables faster adoption of electric vehicles.

His report had a detailed assessment and framework that was scalable and replicable. It could also become a template for a future electronic vehicle transport ecosystem across India.

Shah says, till now, whenever tenders have been issued for charging points, there was a lack of logical selection method. Most of the time it was based on convenience of availability, which may not necessarily serve the purpose and charging stations may end up remaining idle and underutilised.

He says his findings offered insight on tackling the issue proactively and involved data-based decisions on selecting charging infra location.

According to guidelines issued by the Government in February to promote the use of electric vehicles, charging stations for electric vehicles were to be set up every 25 Km on the roads across the country. It was expected that by 2030, about 25% of the total vehicles in India would be electrically powered.

He says his findings offered insight on tackling the issue proactively and involved data-based decisions on selecting charging infra location.

Shah, describing his project as an unconventional management problem with no precedent to refer to, says it involved evaluation of city mobility, electricity tariff and infrastructure, franchising and partnership, recognising key parameters and forming a procedure to identify precise locations for station deployment.

He used several parameters such as intermediate public transport demand, electricity infrastructure network and primary research with various stakeholders to establish a grid methodology for setting up the charging stations.

Shah divided the city into a grid measuring 1×1 km. All identified parameters were then converted into positive and negative indices to arrive at a cumulative score for each grid. Subsequently, the cumulative score was used to rank every grid.

On the basis of their rank, the grids were colour coded into “core, penultimate and outer grids. The core had the highest potential, penultimate, a moderate potential and outer had low potential.

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The ‘core’ grid would have the highest probable utilisation rate for an EV charger. Further, it would also be the area that needs such infrastructure the most. From the government’s perspective, these could be the areas for which it should give out tenders for EV chargers first, he said.

Shah had worked closely with Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Regional Transport Authority (RTO) and Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) during the project.

The project also analysed infrastructure provisioning costs, electricity tariff structures and regulatory frameworks with regard to various scenarios, along with identifying and reporting major bottlenecks and cost-intensive factors to concerned departments.

A city-level visualisation tool (CVT) was used to bring all the stakeholders on a common platform along with developing a methodology to map the energy infrastructure.

Shah’s CVT methodology is being used by SUN Mobility as the draft framework for deploying charging/swapping stations and mapping energy infrastructure in pilot cities. It is also being used as an internal tool to visualise a city-level approach to deploying energy infrastructure.

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