Through various policy initiatives, the Government is pushing hard to make a gradual transition to the usage of electric vehicles in the country. In lieu of which this topic has become important from exam point of view. Here, in the article, there is a detailed analysis of "Electric Vehicles in India". This is relevant for UPSC, State PCS, and other competitive exams.
Electric Vehicles in India
The target set by NITI AAYOG of achieving 100% electric vehicles by 2030 is a great initiative towards making India pollution-free. It will save billions of dollars in fuel cost and will create future opportunities. India’s transportation sector needs a great shift to electric vehicles.
What are Electric Vehicles (EVs)?
Electric vehicles use an electric motor for propulsion rather than using an internal combustion engine. Electric vehicles have a battery that can be charged by electric supply. This electric energy is used to run the motor.
Electric vehicles can be fully electric or hybrid type, which means a combination of electric motor and combustion engine.
What is the need for Electric Vehicles (EVs)?
- Carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons are some of the gases which cause air pollution. These gases are the result of emission from an internal combustion engine. According to a report by WHO, India is home for 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world.
- All these pollution-causing gases and emission is harmful to people like women, children and elderly people. This emission will also lead to global warming.
- On the other side electric vehicles are environmentally friendly and do not emit toxic gases, it will help reduce the global warming effect.
- It will help to fulfil the commitment of the Paris climate agreement.
- It will be helpful in reducing oil imports. India is 5th largest importer of oil with consumption of 2.2 million barrels a day.
- Electric vehicles are cost-effective in maintenance (because of less fluid and less moving parts). Government is also providing subsidies on vehicles and lower taxes on an electric motor.
Some concerns related to Electric Vehicles
- Electric engines provide limited mileage. A complete recharge will take a lot of time and fewer infrastructures for charging across the country.
- It will be poor for highway driving; the top speed of the electric car is 70mph.
- Due to the high cost of lithium-ion battery and the use of electricity will make the overall cost of the electric vehicle high.
- A small amount of pollution is also caused by electric vehicles because of the toxicity of batteries and all electricity origin is also not renewable.
- In Norway one of the three cars is electric, that means 33%.
- More than half of the world’s electric cars are in China and the USA.
- China is aiming to have 5 lakh public charging station by 2020 because they are rapidly shifting towards electric vehicles.
- UK and France are also having a target of 100% electric cars by 2040.
Challenges related to the EV industry in India
- Electric vehicles are not penetrated in the Indian market, almost the lowest in the world.
- India is having challenges related to technological production of electronics such as the battery, semiconductors etc.
- Government’s uncertainty in policymaking is another challenge for investors in this industry. It is a capital intensive sector and will make a profit in the near future.
- The local production is just 35% of the total input production of electric vehicles.
- India does not have any reserve for lithium and cobalt which is important for battery production which is the most important component for EVs. This is related to increasing the cost of production because of dependency on China and Japan.
- High rate of GST and depreciation of rupee is another challenge for the EV industry.
- Lack of infrastructure related to AC versus DC charging station, grid stability, fear anxiety-related to the battery will run out soon, are other hindrances.
- This industry needs a skilled worker and high services.
- India lacks dedicated courses and training in this area.
Initiatives by the government
- Government has set a target of 30% new sale of electric vehicles and two-wheelers by 2030. Government is working towards it by following initiative and policy-
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)
- It is a road map/document for India’s fuel security by promotion and faster adoption of electric vehicles in India with the initial allocation of Rs 75crore. The ambition is around 6 million vehicles on road by 2020.
- This plan is for affordable and environmentally friendly transportation in the country and to achieve automotive leadership in global manufacturing.
Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid and) electric vehicles (FAME)
- The scheme is announced by the government in 2015 with the objective of market creation and develop manufacturing ecosystem with sustainable growth.
- It is formulated by the department of Heavy Industry having 4 key areas- technology creation, demand creation, pilot projects and infrastructure related to charging.
Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid and) electric vehicles (FAME) II
- Based on the result and experience of phase I of the scheme, phase II was launched with an allocation of Rs 10000 Crore over three years, recently approved by the cabinet.
- This scheme vision a holistic approach of EV industry including infrastructure for charging, manufacturing of batteries, market creation, public demand and push to EVs in public transport.
- It also offers incentives to the manufacturer of electric vehicles and its components.
- It enables the creation of charging infrastructure in selected cities and major highways at an interval of 25 km.
National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery storage
This mission is to initiate clean, connected, sustainable mobility in the country. It enables Phased manufacturing programme valid for 5 years (till 2024) to support large scale competitive industry for battery manufacturing in India.
India has great potential for batteries and electric vehicles and this will boost the demand for electric batteries. With proper policy support, Indian companies will be able to diversify their business.
Problems with Government’s effort
- Promotion of EV manufacturing and infrastructure generation without analysing the demand.
- 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers are most appropriate for Indian condition. 2-wheelers account for 76% of fuel consumption in the country but the government is promoting 4-wheelers. Under the FAME scheme, more incentive for large size battery that means more incentive to 4-wheelers.
- Manufacturer to benefit from FAME scheme at least 50% of their EVs must be produced locally. It is not the right way because of bad experiences of solar panels.
Solution and Way Forward
- Demand creation is very important; more focus should be given on making it cheap for the consumer to shift to electric vehicles.
- The focus should be more on subsidising batteries instead of subsidising Electric vehicles as batteries take 50% of EVs cost.
- India needs raw material to manufacture batteries for EVs. India can include lithium in existing Preferential Trade Agreements or can create new agreements with other countries.
- Creation of well establishes research and development ecosystem to develop technologies to reduce risks, battery recycling etc.
- The network of charging station all over the country require a roadmap. This will attract investment in this sector. Tech places, multiplexes, bus depots are some of the potential places for charging station.
- Promotion of renewable energy sources is also important otherwise thermal sources would negate the environmental benefits of EVs.
- Electric vehicles have a long way to go before entering into the roads of India. Proper policy structure, implementation and innovation will help to achieve the target of 2030 sooner. The government should encourage transport from electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles are an integral part of smart cities as they are an automatic assumption in the framework of smart transportation.
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