Electric Vehicles
Climate Science and Technology

Is India ready for Electric Vehicles?

Electric Vehicles | Our climate is changing rapidly, and we have seen a lot of researches, news and various other media regarding the same in recent years. Be it temperature rising or snow melting. There are a lot of reasons behind the same such as deforestation, air pollution etc. However the air pollution is the major threat towards the same. To tackle the air pollution the human being has come up with various constructive solutions such as opting for green alternatives for various options that pollute air.

Electric Vehicle is one of the most common example we can think of here. The Electric Vehicles or EVs are in news for a long time. Some major players in this industry even made this a reality, be it Tesla in USA or Mahindra in India.

The recent budget in July 2019 has shown a great deal towards EVs providing tax incentives to early adopters. Let’s analyze the same in various segments:

Why do we need Electric Vehicles?

It’s a well-established fact that cars produce a lot of carbon that are injected into our natural atmosphere. This pollution and greenhouse gases are only making us vulnerable towards global warming. Moreover, transportation accounts for more than 25% of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making it the second largest contributor of GHG emissions after the energy sector. Hence the electric vehicle can prove to be a huge step in tackling the GHG emissions.

All-electric vehicles (EVs) run on electricity only. They are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. Electric vehicles are cleaner than petroleum-fueled vehicles and are a promising solution to global warming.

What are the Challenges of Electric Vehicles?

As of now in India, although EVs have been introduced, the infrastructure for the same is very minimal. We clearly are lacking in various spaces such as Charge Equipped Public Places and if we talk about technology, we need to cover a distance in terms of fast charging, better battery technologies.

Secondly, it is difficult to afford these vehicles by everyone and whom can afford take a step back due to accessibility and lack of infrastructure. There is a strong need of sustained efforts from centre and state for fast rollout of charging station.

As per NITI Aayog, EV cannot make progress without deadlines, there needs to be an attached vision towards the same. We need a long term vision for this to be a success.

EVs have scenarios which do not cross our minds and one major scenario is its Impact on Oil Industry. According to the current growth in sales on EVs, they would displace 2 million barrels a day by 2020. Once it accelerates further it can drive economies of scale.

If we try to move vision to a long term, EVs may affect global oil use, prices of petroleum vehicles and overall reduce the demand drastically. Which in long term could be a disaster for many oil exporting and OPEC countries. May lead to financial crisis.

What is Government’s doing to promote Electric Vehicles?

As mentioned above about tax incentives on EVs in Budget 2019 such as 1.5 Lakh deduction on personal loan on purchase of EVs. Tax cuts provided on EVs i.e., GST is changed to 5% from 12%.

FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) is to be funded with INR 10,000 Crore to catalyze commercial vehicles and setup charging stations. This will act as a distinct incentive. Moreover, Centre has accepted some demands of auto industries for popularizing EVs.

Vision: All new vehicles to be battery powered by 2030. India is working on a scheme to provide electric cars on zero down-payments for which people can pay out of their savings on expensive fossil fuels, for becoming a 100% EV nation by 2030.

India and China, the emerging economic powers, have also strengthened their cooperation in EVs. China being the world’s largest vehicle electrification success to date, India will surely benefit from this cooperation.

What can be done?

For EVs to achieve widespread adoption, governments will have to launch strong incentive programmes that will bring down car prices and spur consumer adoption of the technology. The government could even consider making all new government vehicles electric and setup a good example.

For infrastructure, Ministry of Power suggests guidelines needs to be followed for technical parameters for setting up charging stations. And the work to make ground level changes needs to be fast tracked like:

  • Accessibility and Affordability of charging station can prove to be a game changer.
  • Affordable charging can make a huge impact especially on three wheelers.
  • Fast charging technology need to be entered in the market
  • Parking slots, public areas, hotel offices etc. needs to be equipped.

Although some organizations in India are working hard to help India switch to electric transportation, utilizing what Tesla and other EV manufacturers have to offer will save a lot of time. Moreover, more focus on two wheelers can be stressed in start, since they can spread very fast.

Longer term policies to collaborate lithium battery production and green energy production such as solar energy can be very promising. Vehicles need to be made with battery swap technologies, for convenience and reliability.

Leapfrog into the ERA of electric mobility is inevitable because of Air and Noise Pollution. In the Indian scenario, the government should provide the initial user base and demand to help technologies cross the chasm. Eventually, the local manufacturers catch up with the technology and the whole Vision of Electric Vehicles in India will be nothing but a reality.

Photo Credit: Mike Bird (https://www.pexels.com/@mikebirdy)

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