I'm sure, in recent times, you've heard something related to 'Tesla' or 'Elon Musk'. That's because, sustainability, is one of the top priorities among the young, and Tesla aims just that. Tesla’s Founder Elon has also been in the light for his infamous tweets, on which he recently announced that the company is scheduled to deliver EVs in India.
This year, we saw the prices of petrol hitting a record high of ₹96.98 in Mumbai, a metropolitan city in India. The major reasons believed are rising prices of crude oil, high demand, & limited supply.
That being said, it has become crucial for the government of India to find a solution to combat this situation. One of the ways being is using Ethanol fuel and the other is introducing Electric Vehicles.
One cannot deny electric vehicles are the future. Sooner or later one has to make this switch, from fossil fuels to electricity. And India is open to this shift. The government of India has already expressed its desire to turn India into a 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030. But here's a question which troubles many Indians:
"Is it possible?"Why Electric Vehicles?
India was one of the 195 countries, who signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, in which it agreed to reduce its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 33-35%. It also committed to generating 40% of its installed electricity capacity by 2030 from non-fossil fuels. To achieve this, India plans to switch to renewable energy and electric vehicles by 2025 to implement carbon-neutral technology. The country also plans to slash imports of over ₹8 lakh crore of crude oil to focus on green fuel. That’s because as many as 21 cities in India are among the top 30 polluted cities in the world. Ghaziabad is the second most polluted city in the world, followed by 9 other Indian cities.
In October 2017, the air quality index (AQI) of 999 was recorded in Delhi. Vehicular emissions contribute 41% to this deteriorating air quality index. And to improve this declining air quality, electric vehicles could do wonders.Top Efforts by the Government to Promote Electric Vehicles
The government took a step forward and undertook many initiatives to promote electric mobility.
- National Electric Mobility Mission Plan: The government of India launched the NEMMP scheme in 2012 to promote hybrid and electric vehicles and to achieve national fuel security. Under this plan, the government reduced the GST on electric vehicles from 28% to 12%.
- Go electric campaign: At the beginning of 2021, the government introduced this campaign to encourage the adoption of 100% electric mobility vehicles and electric cooking appliances. This initiative was another step towards the 100% electric nation plan.
- FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles) Scheme: FAME was launched under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. This scheme was initially introduced in 2015 and is planned to be completed in 2022. This scheme aims at providing incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. Under the FAME scheme, the government has also launched 670 electric buses in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, and Chandigarh along with 241 charging points.
Under the FAME initiative, the Indian Government has planned to set up one charging station every 25 km. Many private companies and government-owned organizations are aiming to set up over 1500 EV charging points on 25 expressways and highways. Around 600 fast and slow charging points have already been set up by public companies.
The government has also proposed that after March 31, 2025, two-wheelers below the engine capacity of 150cc and three-wheelers sold after March 31, 2023, should be electric vehicles.Competition among the Automobile Manufactures
You might have already seen many Indian automobile manufacturing companies, trying to adapt to this new transition by introducing electric vehicles of their own. Tata Motors is ahead in the competition. In 2020, Tata Motors sold as many as 2,602 units of the Nexon EV priced at ₹13.99 lakhs, leading the sales chart in EVs. Peers like Hyundai and MG have also introduced electric vehicles, priced above ₹20 lakhs. Other automobile manufacturers like Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki are yet to, join the competition.
With this, we can see that even, the automobile industry in India is all set to welcome this new change. A study by lubricants major Castrol found out that consumers in India are would consider buying electric vehicles by 2022. Indians are willing to shift to electric vehicles if the price point is under 35 lakhs and the charging point being available in a range of 401kms.Disadvantages of Using Electric Vehicles
The future of electric vehicles has its perks but there are many challenges in the way.
- The range of Electric Vehicles: In a single charge, electric; EV's like Tata Nexon and Hyundai Kona can cover a distance of 312 km and 43 km respectively. This has also created "range anxiety" among the users. The fear of running out of batteries persists in the minds of EV drivers. The use of the air conditioner and extra weight can also lead to battery drainage.
- Battery degradation: The batteries of Electric Vehicles degrade 2.3% each year. This supplements the battery drainage problem. Old batteries take longer to charge making every drive extremely time-consuming.
- Lack of charging stations: Although the government is taking efforts to improve and increase the capacity of charging points, it is still evident that there are not many charging points in India. There are many upcoming projects which focus on this issue but the solution is being implemented only in big cities. So does that mean a 'get away from the city' is impossible with an EV?
- The Cost Factor: Let's not forget, the price of an Electric Vehicle is a major disadvantage. A typical Indian middle-class family would rather invest the money in a house than buying a Car, contributing to their liabilities. Even though, maintenance of an EV costs less but buying one will put a dent in the savings of individuals.
- Incompatible Infrastructure: Driving an electric vehicle on a bumpy Indian road would be a challenge. Even if Tesla enters India, it would have to drop its promising features like auto-pilot due to lack of proper infrastructure. Let's be honest, no machine can beat an Indian driver in finding unconventional ways in the traffic.
Yes, there are many problems that the country needs to tackles for a smooth transition to Electric vehicles but we can see that the government of India is constantly putting efforts to make this happen. Even if the citizens of India have their doubts, they are still very optimistic about the future of EVs. If electric vehicles become a hit, India would take a step forward towards achieving sustainability, better air quality, and enhanced security, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.