Electric vehicles’; the future

An electric car is just a car propelled by one or more electric motors using energy stored in rechargeable batteries, instead of burning petrol or diesel internally and exhausting fumes. There are broadly three kinds of electric cars at present:

1.   Solar-powered electric cars and vehicles

2.   Hybrid electric cars powered by a mix of internal combustion and batteries 

3.   Electric cars with on-board battery packs also known as battery electric vehicle (BEV) 

More often than not, electric cars in the context of mobility and environmental conservation refer to battery electric vehicles, but may also refer to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV)

In the Indian context, automobile manufacturers have announced electric four-wheelers such as Hyundai Kona Electric, Mahindra e-Verito, Mahindra e2o, Porsche Taycan, Tata Tigor EV 2019, MG ZS. But many more will be needed if India is to take meaningful steps towards becoming an EV-first nation. 

With enthusiasm rising around the chances of Elon Musk’s Tesla launching in India in 2020, many local and global auto manufacturers have started testing the waters in the Indian market for electric cars.

Some questions arise that need to be discussed these

* How do you see the evolution globally of electric vehicles in the coming years?

* Are there pockets or regions where EVs will take off sooner?

* What will happen to ICE platforms?

* What does that mean for global automakers in different regions such as Asia, Europe and US?

* What can be done to push the take rate of EVs?

What Are The Advantages Of Electric Cars Over Fuel Cars?

At a fundamental level, electric cars offer a dramatically lower operating cost compared to conventional internal combustion engines. On average, electric vehicles are 75-80% cheaper from fuel and maintenance perspective, which is an important consideration for many consumers who have high usage. This reality holds across form factors because it’s materially cheaper to charge a battery compared to refuelling a conventional liquid fuel tank.

Moreover, EVs have 75-80% fewer moving components and this ultimately translate to a much lower maintenance bill. Over and above the robust operating cost angle, EVs also possess an inherent advantage when it comes to performance and driveability.

What Are The Challenges In Consumer Adoption Of Electric Cars?

Breaking away the old norms and establishing new consumer behaviour is always a challenge. It is common to find users anxious about the speed and range of EVs. Thus, a lot of sensitisation and education is needed, to bust several myths and promote EVs within the Indian market, Zoomcar’s Moran told Inc42.

Apart from this, there are several challenges in the adoption of electric vehicle cars in India shortly. These include:

1.   Charging infrastructure

2.   Battery performance

3.   Supply-demand gap

4.   Creating the closed-loop

Lack of battery cell manufacturing

There is a complete absence of primary battery cell manufacturing in India which poses the risk of increasing our trade deficit. At the moment, most manufacturers rely on batteries imported from Japan, China, Korea and Europe. Hence, the Indian market needs encouragement for indigenous technologies that are suited for India from both strategic and economic standpoint, such as aluminium fuel cells.

How Can The Government Promote Electric Cars Further?

The Indian government is gunning for its goal of making 30% of Indian vehicles electric by 2030. The steps taken in 2019 to promote electric vehicles in the country include:

1.   Special policy measures such as slashing GST on EVs to 5% versus 28% for combustion engines

2.   INR 1.5 lakh tax exemption on loans to buy electric vehicles

3.   INR 10K Cr allocated to FAME II to push electric mobility through standardisation

4.   Union cabinet has proposed customs duty exemption on certain EV parts including electric drive assembly, on-board charger, e-compressor and a charging gun to cut down costs

5.   To localise the value chain, cabinet outplayed a five-year phased manufacturing programme (PMP) until 2024

6.   Nearly a dozen states either issued or proposed electric vehicle policies till date, with Delhi being the latest one.

“We will soon be pushing for setting up of bigger factories for battery manufacturing. We are open to listening to new ideas and pushing them, so I encourage all founders to push the envelope,” Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, said recently.

Further, the industry leaders Inc42 spoke to highlighted more measures that are needed:

1.   More incentives, tax cuts or rebates for every stakeholder in the mix, including the manufacturers and consumers

2.   Facilitating access to capital both for R&D as well as manufacturing

3.   Promotion of indigenous technology and capacity

4.   Creating infrastructure supporting shared mobility

5.   Offering a permit distribution for shared micro-mobility services as against a tendering system to open up the market

6.   Promoting mobility-as-a-service using EVs

7.   Phasing out ICE vehicles. For OEMs, 60% of new vehicles sold after April 1, 2025 should be zero-emission vehicles. This could be applied in a gradual way leading to 60% by 2025.

8.   Access to vehicular loans for EVs to the end-user at interest rates at par with normal vehicles even for new brands.

Categories: Editorial, India

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