The use of non-renewable and polluting sources for the production of energy has taken environmental pollution to a whole new level. The increasing global warming has an impending need on us to stop the use of non-renewable resources and reduce carbon emissions. Since the industrial age, the atmospheric carbon content is rising. Carbon emissions from vehicles amount for a typical passenger vehicle is 4.7 metric tons per year. The largest human source of carbon emission is from combustion of fossil fuels. The development of electrical engine in vehicles has created a replacement for the internal combustion engines paving way for the Electric Vehicles (EV). EVs have been adopted by many countries since it development creating a positive impact on the environment. We are now going to see the opportunities and challenges impending over implementing electric vehicles in India.
Battery Electric Vehicles are complete electric vehicles that are powered by only electricity and do not include a petrol/diesel engine, fuel storage or exhaust pipe. They use electric motors and motor controllers for propulsion. They do not have an internal combustion engine. They charge the battery through external charging outlet and hence also known as “Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs)”. There are various types of BEVs such as electric cars, buses, bikes, scooters, trucks and trains. They even include fewer parts than those used for those vehicles based on internal combustion engines. They even produce fewer noises compared to their counterparts.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles are not pure electric vehicles since they use a combination of internal combustion engine and electric propulsion systems. These mainly include cars, buses and trucks. The latest models use technologies focusing on improving efficiencies such as regenerative brakes, which convert kinetic energy of vehicle into electric energy to charge the battery and other systems such as start-stop system, which switches off the engine at idle and restarts when needed to reduce idle emissions and motor-generator. A hybrid electric produces much less emission than those produced by pure gasoline based hybrids improving fuel economy functioning at maximum efficiency. There are also Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs). They even produce fewer noises than pure hybrid vehicles.
EVs are cheaper to operate since they have high efficiencies and fuel economies thereby reduce cost for the owner. The electricity to charge an EV is about one third as much per kilometer to purchase fuel for vehicle.
BEVs have less moving parts than those had by conventional combustion engine vehicles. There is less servicing and no expensive systems such as fuel injection and exhaust systems, which are not needed in an EV. PHEVs have petrol engine and need servicing hence costing more than BEVs but they also have an electric propulsion system, which requires less moving parts leading to less depletion of petrol engine parts.
EVs are less polluting, as they have zero exhaust emissions . If you opt to use renewable energy to charge your EV, you can reduce green house gas emissions even more. Some EVs are made of eco-friendly materials such as the Ford Focus Electric, which is made of recycled and bio based materials and the Nissan Leaf, which is partly made of recycled plastic bottles, old car parts and second hand appliances.
The reduced harmful emissions will lead to better air quality, which is good for our health. EVs are also produce much less noise compared to petrol/diesel-based vehicles.
EVs have a low center of gravity thereby making them less likely to capsize. They also have low risk of fires and explosions. Their body construction gives them more durability hence making them safer during collisions.
The Government of India has embarked on a mission to create revolution in renewable energy in the country by planning a movement involving transformation to Electric Vehicles by 2030. It is expected to cut its oil purchases by some $60 billion, reducing emissions by 37% and curb demand for road infrastructure within the next 12 years. India currently has around 1.3 billion people with around 21 million vehicles sold annually
Cost of EVs-The cost of EVs should be reasonable and the EVs produced should hold proper value for money.
Efficiency of EVs in India -The EVs in India on an average provides around 120 km on a full charge in turn making them unsuitable for long drives. EVs in India lack speed, which may turn off buyers. The top two India made EVs have speed of 85 km/hr.
Demand for EVs -Increase in demand will help in achieving vision 2030. Increase in demand of EVs will lead to increase in requirement for energy and raw materials to for the battery
Vehicle Quality -Good vehicle quality will lure more customers. Better quality vehicles ensure trust among customers.
Batteries -The batteries used by electrics are cars made up of nickel, aluminum, cobalt, graphite and lithium, which are all rare earth materials. The availability of these materials is scarce and the amount of these materials available may not be able to produce enough batteries to power the expected amount of electric vehicles to be produced. The increasing demand for lithium around the globe given its scarcity on the Earth’s surface will make it challenging to meet India’s EV requirement.
There must be enough electricity generation capacity to meet the increasing demands for charging infrastructure and local consumer utilization. There is presently shortage of electricity in many parts of India and a major part of energy generation of the country is still dependent on fossil fuels.
Anti – EV Elements -Anti – EV activists, supposedly fringe elements hired by oil companies or fossil fuel dealers try to thwart growth of EVs. Amsterdam recently witnessed an Anti – EV vandalism case involving damaging of 2 TESLAs
Global Energy Demand –Future fall in Oil prices can decelerate the pace of growth of electric vehicles.
Land Availability -Availability of land to setup charging stations in urban areas where land scarcity is present is a difficult task. Moreover, a substation nearby is a requirement for a charging station.
The implementation of EVs in India aims primarily to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut oil expenses. The vision 2030 put forth by the Indian Government is an ambitious and difficult task. The Government should make the most out of the opportunities available and find suitable ways to tackle the challenges impending over the implementation of EVs. India’s obligation towards many environment friendly agreements has given it a situation where it is prompted to implement vision 2030.