When Amit Sharma acquired a Hyundai Kona Electric earlier this year, he decided against installing a home charging unit due to an upcoming move from his Pune residence. That’s when he found Hopcharge, a Gurgaon-based startup that specializes in on-demand, door-to-door fast charging for electric vehicles. With a subscription to Hopcharge, Sharma can request a van equipped with high-capacity lithium-ion batteries to charge his EV anywhere in the city, all at a moment’s notice.
In India, where a single charging station serves an average of 164 electric vehicles—compared to the global standard of one for every 15.9 EVs—startups like Hopcharge are stepping in to address this gap with innovative solutions.
Pune-based Mobec, which recently introduced its mobile fast-charging service to a select group of users, is also in the process of launching mobile charging stations for commercial parking areas. Earlier this year, the startup secured $1 million in funding from Purple Stone Consulting, a Singapore-based investment firm. GoFuel, a nationwide fuel delivery service, is in the advanced stages of R&D for its planned door-to-door EV charging solutions.
Hopcharge, which began its commercial operations in April 2022, is a boon for EV owners who either lack a home charging setup or find it challenging to access public charging stations. “It’s not just about convenience but also the reliability of getting your EV charged. Once you’ve scheduled a session with us, you’re guaranteed a charge,” says Arun Rana, co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Hopcharge.
Users like Sharma can utilize Hopcharge’s mobile app to have their EVs fast-charged within just 45 minutes of the charging van’s arrival, irrespective of whether the vehicle is parked at his home or his office.
“The adoption rate of EVs has been significantly higher among those who can afford to install home chargers. However, those living in apartments face numerous challenges in setting up such stations,” Rana notes. For instance, a typical home charging station requires a 7kW load, a demand that most apartments in urban areas struggle to meet. Rana also emphasizes the need for significant upgrades to the existing electrical grid to accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles.
Hopcharge offers a variety of subscription plans, ranging from Rs 4,499 to Rs 49,900 per year. Their premium ‘Hopcharge Z’ plan allows subscribers to fast-charge their EVs up to 210 times a year. Currently, the company operates 18 charging vans in the National Capital Region, with plans to add 10 more by year-end.
The Disparity Between EV Sales and Charging Infrastructure
Despite the surge in EV sales, with over 1.04 million vehicles registered in the first nine months of 2023, India’s charging infrastructure lags behind. A recent study revealed that while EV sales increased by 168%, the number of public charging stations grew by just 39%.
Hopcharge’s patented technology analyzes real-time data, including battery temperature, state of charge, and state of health, to determine the most efficient charging rate. The company is also exploring renewable energy sources to further reduce their carbon footprint.
By offering mobile, flexible, and accessible charging solutions, startups like Hopcharge and Mobec are not only bridging the infrastructure gap but also accelerating India’s transition to a more sustainable future.