Electric Vehicles are either fully or partially powered on electric motor, instead of an internal combustion engine.
There are two basic types of EVs: All-electric Vehicles (AEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).
AEVs are powered exclusively by one or more electric motors and use only batteries for energy. They can be recharged by plugging into the electric grid and do not consume any petroleum-based fuel, resulting in no tailpipe emissions.
PHEVs use batteries to power an electric motor, and their battery can be recharged by plugging into an external source of electric power or by using their on-board engine and generator.
Electric Vehicles: India’s status
- EVs represent about 2% of total vehicle sales in India as of 2023.
- According to the Global EV Outlook, more than 30% of new vehicle sales in India are projected to be electric by 2030.
- As of March 2023, the highest number of EV units were sold in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra and Delhi.
Electric Vehicles: Significance
- Mitigating global warming may save on an average annual GDP of 3%.
- India has 39 out of 50 global cities with the worst air pollution, according to the World Air Quality Report in 2022. Much of this pollution is caused by vehicular emissions.
- Promoting domestic manufacturing can help achieve a manufacturing share of 25% of India’s GDP, which can boost employment.
- Large-scale adoption of electric vehicles in India can save up to $60 billion on oil imports by 2030.
Electric Vehicles: Challenges
- Battery-related challenges include dependence on imported lithium and cobalt, capital-intensive production, and inadequate charging infrastructure.
- Policy-related challenges include policy uncertainty, lack of dedicated guidelines, and high rates of GST.
- There are concerns about job losses due to the requirement for skilled labor and the impact of automation.
- Limited grid capacity is a major obstacle in India, as the country is only able to add 20GW/annum to its grid, while the EV market needs a minimum of 10GW of cells by 2022, resulting in additional demand and a difficult task.
- EV-related challenges include a poor range on a single charge and the fact that most electricity is generated from coal.
Electric Vehicles: India’s readiness
- Enabling the charging infrastructure, implementing a battery swapping model, and improving the electric grid capacity are necessary for the successful adoption of EVs.
- Increasing research and development in technologies like fuel cells can help address some of the challenges associated with batteries.
- Strengthening bilateral relations with countries such as Chile, Bolivia, Australia, and Congo for lithium and cobalt can help ensure a stable supply chain for these critical materials.
- Focusing on increasing investments from the government, private sector, and foreign direct investment, as well as implementing favorable policies such as tax cuts, can help promote the growth of the EV market.
- Establishing a robust electric waste handling policy is essential for managing the potential increase in e-waste resulting from the growing number of EVs.
Electric Vehicles: A way ahead
- The government has taken several favorable steps to promote the adoption of EVs, including:
- Setting up at least one EV charging kiosk at petrol pumps across the country
- Implementing the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)
- Launching the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.
- Additionally, tax benefits are available to encourage the production and sale of EVs
- Niti Aayog and the International Transport Forum (ITF) are working to decarbonize India’s transport sector.
- Furthermore, NTPC has commissioned its first EV charging station.
- Awareness and outreach campaigns, such as the ‘Switch Delhi’ Campaign, can help educate the public and promote the benefits of EVs.
- Increasing foreign investments, such as from Tesla Motors, can help drive innovation and growth in the EV market.
- Categorizing the charging of batteries as a service can help streamline the regulatory framework and promote the development of charging infrastructure.