Electric Vehicles: The Market in India is still in its Infancy

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2030 might seems to be a decade of distance away. But the Electronics Vehicle industry speedometer is moving fast, as the industry is shelling new out new EVs and EV technologies every day. Jayanth Rangaraju, End Equipment Manager at Texas Instruments (TI) India, speaks with ELE Times on growth and progress of the EV industry and TI’s offerings in the vertical.

ELE Times: Tell us about the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry growth and opportunities with respect to Indian market scenario?

Jayanth Rangaraju: On a global scale electric cars hit a new record in 2016 with over 750 thousand in sales. This year is going to be another record-setting year with 764 thousand in sales until September and the number is expected to surpass 1 million units in sales by the time we close for this year.*

In comparison, the EV market in India is still in its infancy. While the current government is indicating a rollout out of an extremely ambitious plan aimed at electrifying all vehicles in the country by 2030, a lot needs to be done on the ground to realise this vision.

That said, it is interesting to see that the conversations around EV have begun in earnest. Air quality in all major cities in India is plummeting with pollution reaching alarming levels; automotive pollution is a leading contributor to air quality conditions. India is one of the biggest importers of fossil fuel; EVs could help reduce this dependency on foreign fossil fuel sources. Noise pollution is at its worst level in most major cities and EV could help reduce the impact from automotive sources.  Shifting to EVs can help India address all of the above issues as well as reduce its carbon footprint and meet its CO2 emission goals as set by Paris Agreement.

ELE Times: What measures in technology and infrastructure required for shaping up the government vision of Making India an EV nation by 2030?

Jayanth Rangaraju: In order to answer this question, one has to look at some of the major barriers to adoption of an EV.

  • Upfront cost: EVs are higher than that of a comparable fossil -fuel based car – added costs come from battery technology
  • Range anxiety: Typically EV’s have a range of 120 ~ 200 km per charge – poses a challenge for intercity travel, or cab/taxi model of operation
  • Lacks a reliable EV charging network: at public places such as offices, malls and on highways – means always charge at home
  • Slow charging systems: Most commonly available EV charging systems are AC charging systems and require anywhere from 8 to 12 hours (over-night) to charge a battery with 100+ kilometers

Any policies that mitigate above barriers will aid in the accelerated adaption of EVs.  Some options on the table include bringing down the cost of battery production, either by local manufacturing or by tax-free imports. Tax credits combined with zero down-payment purchase plans can aid customer with the upfront cost. Consider private-public partnerships that can provide an infrastructure such as battery swapping stations or a good network of fast charging stations for EVs that is currently absent even in urban India.

ELE Times: What are the Texas Instrument offering (Product line) for Electric Vehicle industry?

Jayanth Rangaraju: Figure above shows the basic block diagram of a standard AC charging system. TI analog front end (AFE) and data converters can help design accurate (voltage, current and temperature) sensing blocks. TI’s power management devices (PMIC, AC/DC, DC/DC, LDOs etc.) can help with designing highly efficient power conversion blocks.  TI’s wide range of isolated and non-isolated gate drives aid engineers to design fast switching power stages. TI’s board portfolio of MCUs (MSP430, C2000) help engineers meet design requirements of system controller block. TI devices support wide range of communication protocols (PLC, Wi-Fi, CAN, RS485 etc.) for both onboard and external communication. TI ARM-based processors such as Sitara can provide advanced HMI and point-of-sale and billing capabilities in conjunction with MSP microcontrollers with capacitive touch-sensing technology.

ELE Times: How will Texas Instrument technology help the EVs to charge in just 30 minutes?

Jayanth Rangaraju: The fast charge (in 30 minutes or less) is primarily driven by the power modules (block diagram shown above) on a DC Charging Stations (Level 3 Chargers) that bypasses the On-Board Charger on the EV and directly talks to the Battery management system on the EV. The three-phase AC from the grid is conditioned by a power-factor-correction (PFC) circuit. The AC is rectified by active metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) rectifiers into a high-voltage DC of about 400 V. This voltage passes to a DC/DC converter made up of power FETs or insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) that generate the correct DC level of about 400 VDC for charging the battery. TI’s isolated and non-isolated gate drivers can be used to drive these MOSFET/IGBTs with high precision.  TI’s amplifiers, ADC, hall or fluxgate sensors can be used to build voltage and current sense circuitry. TI’s one or more MCUs (like TI’s C2000 MCU series) manage the monitoring and control, AC/DC and DC/DC power-conversion processes.

ELE Times: What are TI strategies for making EV charging smarter (Wi-Fi capability)?    

Jayanth Rangaraju: A connected smart EV charging stations can help alleviate the inconvenience caused to EV owners from extended charging times associated with AC Charging stations. Adding Wi-Fi connectivity will allow for remote monitoring and control of the charging of EV from just about anywhere. For example, being able to remotely monitor and reserve a slot with EVSEs in the office parking lot, or at a public charging station in a mall or a highway can eliminate the uncertainty associated with finding an EV charger at your next stop. Automatic text message when an EV charging is complete can ensure that the user makes space for the next user without added delay. Being able to automate the charging times & conditions for your EV when it’s plugged in at home would allow for EV to be charged during off-peak hours when the grid tariff is lower.

 

*Source- According to Global Plug-in Deliveries for Q3-2017 and YTD: http://www.ev-volumes.com/.

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