It’s happening even as we speak. Global warming, aided by fossil fuel depletion and the subsequent atmospheric pollution caused by vehicles, is slowly claiming our planet’s health. As per the stats, India is currently the world’s fourth largest consumer of energy, after China, the US, and Russia (with a total energy consumption of 638 million tons of oil equivalent).
We are also one of the largest automobile consumers in the world. In other words, we are guilty of causing pollution while depleting natural resources and burning a hole in our own pockets. In this scenario, having an eco-friendly, cost saving and low maintenance vehicle as an alternate to regular fuel consuming one, is definitely a boon. An electric vehicle is the answer to our prayers. Let’s look at the various aspects of the changing scenario of Indian Automobile industry and the opportunities, challenges and benefits that EV presents.
There are numerous advantages of Electric Vehicles, especially in the Indian context:
Electric Vehicles as a category is still evolving rapidly across the globe and while the costs are coming, they are still considerably high. However, when compared to their fossil fuel run contemporaries, EVs save immensely on cost. For instance, if we install a battery pack in an EV for 3-5 years, we will incur only the plug-in and charging costs. This is much less than fossil fuels needed to run a similar vehicle.
No dependence on fossil fuels
As EVs rely only on electric charging they help conserve energy resources. Given how the prices of crude oils are constantly on the rise, EVs are a whiff of relief for environment conscious vehicle users.
Reduced Green House Gas emission
A study reveals that Electric vehicles emit 50% less than diesel vehicles. Even as battery technology improves and more renewables are involved in the electricity grid, emissions from battery production could be cut by 65%, the study found.
No license needed for two-wheeler EVs
Government of India has allowed the use of electric run two-wheelers without the need for license or registration. Moreover, GOI is giving incentives to those who buy EVs in order to promote the purchase and use of more electric vehicles.
Low service and maintenance cost
A recent study published in the journal Applied Energy has confirmed that battery-electric vehicles in the UK, California, Texas and Japan were cheaper than the legacy gas or diesel vehicles on a total cost of ownership (TCO) basis. Lower TCO is attributed to ‘less wear on the brakes and fewer moving parts.’
Lack of Charging Infrastructure
For mass adoption of EVs in India, the lack of charging infrastructure is a major roadblock.
- Government of India aims to have 6-7 million Electric and Hybrid Vehicles on road by 2020 at an estimated budget of INR 14,000 crores. However, government has allocated only a meagre INR 795 crores for the initial 2 years (2015-2017)
- Low investment in Charging infrastructure and lack of standards/regulations with regard to Charging EVs are posing as serious hurdles for the GOI’s ambitious project.
- Meanwhile the GOI has the next ambitious target set – that of having 100% EVs in India by 2030.
- While the number of charging stations are slowly on the rise, it’s no match to the mammoth target we have in front of us (6-7 million EVs by 2020). For making mass charging feasible, charging infrastructure must be deployed or retrofitted in commercial and residential areas. Additionally, the government needs to involve private players to set up charging centers.
Development Gaps in India
From components to integrators, from vehicle control to validation, from testing to regulation, there are a number of developmental gaps in India’s EV industry. Here’s a quick glance at the lacunae:
Key Drivers in EV Growth in India
- Integration of EVs within the product portfolio of OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
- Strict government regulations on CO2 emissions and multi-million investments in subsidies and incentives by other nations worldwide.
- eMobility Value Chain-Collaboration with a range of ecosphere players in the Electrification Value Chain.
- Immediate and step-wise resolution of mass charging infrastructure challenge.