Is India ready for Electric Vehicles?

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What are Electric Vehicles?
Electric vehicles, unlike conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, use one or more electric motors  for propulsion. Electric vehicles have a battery that is charged through an electricity supply. The electric energy is then stored and used to power the electric motor. There are many types of electric vehicles such as electric cars, electric trucks, electric buses, electric bikes, electric trains, electric scooters etc. however, amongst all, manufacturing and putting the electric cars on road is the vision to make India pollution free alongwith saving the precious petroleum. 

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Tesla, BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Volkswagen, Kia are the 7 leading manufacturer of Electric Vehicles. 

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Benefits of Electric Vehicles:

Cost Effective: With advent of advance technology and dedicated R&D, both cost and maintenance of electric vehicles has gone down. Government is incentivizing the use of Electric Vehicles by providing subsidies and lower motor taxes on EVs.

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Environment Friendly: Electric Vehicles are 100 percent eco-friendly. They do not emit toxic gases or smoke in the environment which leads to global warming and helps to reduce pollution. 

 

Energy Security: As electricity is majorly produced from either renewable sources or from sources that emit no greenhouse gases thus EVs help in maintain energy security by shifting dependence from non- renewable resources to renewable resources.

 

Less Maintenance: Electric vehicles require less maintenance than conventional vehicles as there are fewer fluids (like oil and transmission fluid) to change and fewer moving parts. 

 

Reduction in Noise pollution: Electric vehicles are quieter to operate than gasoline-powered vehicles, leading to reduction in noise pollution.

 

While the global EV market is rapidly gaining momentum towards the target set by Electric Vehicle initiative (EVI) of global deployment of 20 million electric vehicles by 2020, Electric vehicles in India are still at a nascent stage. 

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Yes, India is ready:

  • India has been manufacturing indigenously and successfully using Electric Locomotives that pull train coaches with thousands of tons of load. This has not only saved conventional fuel like coal, diesel but has also saved the environment from getting polluted further. Accordingly, manufacturing and using the electric cars is not a big hurdle.
  • According to a report by NITI Aayog,
  • India can save 64% of anticipated passenger road-based mobility-related energy demand and 37% of carbon emissions in 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric, and connected mobility future.
  • This would result in a reduction of 156 mega toe in diesel and petrol consumption for that year. At USD 52/bbl of crude, this would imply a net savings of roughly Rs 3.9 lakh crore (approximately 60 billion USD) in 2030. These figures clearly indicate an urgent requirement for replacement of conventional vehicles with electric vehicles.
  • While prominent manufacturers such as Maruti Suzuki India, Hero Electric Vehicles, Mahindra and Mahindra are already registered electric manufacturers in India, latest collaborations such as Suzuki and Toyota, are planning to launch electric vehicles in India.
  • On the same lines India’s first EV manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra has forged a partnership with Ford to develop electric mobility solutions that are affordable for the Indian consumers.
  • Among the world’s 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are in India. Vehicular pollution is one of the major contributors to air pollution. India is in the group of countries that has the highest particulate matter (PM) levels. Its cities have the highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 (particles with diameter of 10 microns and 2.5 microns). These figures are six times more than the WHO “safe” limit of 25 micrograms and represent the exigency for Electrical Vehicles.
  • As a signatory to the Paris climate agreement, India is obligated to bring down its share of global emissions by 2030. Thus the government of India is making key initiatives such as launch of National E-Mobility Programme, planning guidelines to encourage the use of such vehicles by NITI Aayog etc. to promote EVs in India. 
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No, India is not ready:

  • More Indians prefer petrol, diesel or gas driven cars. They do not seem to be ready to buy and use the electric cars due to their slow pick up, slow speed and non-availability of electric charging centres in the vicinity of their area.
  • As per the data of Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, only 22,000 units of EVs were sold in India by March 2016, of which 2,000 were four wheelers. At the same time, sales of electric cars grew at a staggering rate of 94% from 2011 to 2015 worldwide, led by China, US, and Europe.
  • Just after nine months of the launch of Ola’s ambitious Electric Vehicle project in Nagpur, it faced major roadblock with Ola drivers wanting to return their electric cars and switch back to petrol or diesel variants. The reason being high operating expenses and long wait times at charging stations.
  • In 2015, the government had launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME), a scheme that offered incentives for clean fuel technology cars with the long-term objective of boosting their sales. However, despite incentives as high as INR 140,000 on some cars, the scheme received a lukewarm response.
  • Sales of electric and hybrid cars contributed to only a fraction of the 3 million passenger vehicles sold in India in 2016.
  • India lacks significant infrastructure and necessary technology to support Electric Vehicle manufacturing. Efficient components such as high-density batteries remain a key challenge.
  •  A robust supply ecosystem of charging stations is another challenge for Electric vehicles.

Though the market in India has given a tepid response to electric vehicles but there exists immense opportunity for the growth of electric vehicles. The government of India is dedicated towards adoption of Electric Vehicles for a cleaner and greener environment. Robust supporting infrastructure with lower tax on EVs could help to achieve the dream faster. 

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