Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

May, 19, 2018

[op-ed snap] Electric vehicles don’t need a government push

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: The newscard discusses some issues related to the (possible) early adoption of the EVs in India.


News

Context

  1. EVs are the future, but the investments are still risky and rushing the change could leave us with an overpriced fleet of early-generation vehicles

Government is considering some exemptions

  1. Government has recently announced that the government is considering
    (1) exemption from permits, concessional toll,
    (2) a rate of depreciation of 50% as against the prevailing 15% for conventional vehicles,
    (3) lowering of the goods and services tax on batteries and
    (4) a rule mandating taxi aggregators to have a certain percentage of EVs in their fleet
  2. Government has spoken about making the public transport system fully electric through the second phase of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme
  3. It’s possible that some of these plans will not materialize

Important issue related to the EVs: Pricing

  1. EVs are superior to internal combustion engines, but also expensive
  2. Therefore, incentives to purchase EVs, as well as procurement of EVs for public transport, could be fiscally expensive, and we might end up with an overpriced fleet of early-generation vehicles
  3. Suggestion: Just like early smartphones, a better idea would be to wait until the rich nations buy sufficient volumes of the products on offer, and bring prices down

An all-electric fleet of buses is an expensive solution to the problem: A World Bank study

  1. A World Bank study on the cost effectiveness of electric and hybrid buses in developing countries concluded that
  2. in order to tackle air pollution, the policy goal should be to incentivise more people to leave their cars at home

Government should be cautious

  1. The government should avoid regulating the supply of infrastructure with arbitrary prescriptions and subsidies
  2. While everyone agrees that charging infrastructure is essential to the success of EVs, whether there should be a charging station at every five kilometres or 10 cannot be known in advance
  3. Factors such as the driving range of vehicles, private charging capabilities of users and charging speed will determine the number and location of charging stations
  4. Similarly, shifts in technology(such as wireless charging, solid state batteries or a transition to hydrogen fuel cells) will have to be anticipated as these might render existing infrastructure obsolete

The way forward

  1. The government needs to focus on the less appealing, but more effective solutions
  2. Choosing new technologies is the task of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, not the government
Apr, 26, 2018

[op-ed snap] India’s double rush for electric vehicles and oil refineries

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Indian government is seriously planning for adopting EVs in near future. This creates some issues in oil refinery industry. The newscard talks about this important issue.


News

Electric vehicles (EVs) policy of the Indian Government

  1. Last year, India announced its bold intention of electrifying the nation’s automobile fleet by 2030
  2. The reaction has been mixed: EVs are enticing to customers and strongly supported by environmentalists, but automakers and fuel suppliers are not fully on board
  3. The shift to EVs could also ease concerns about economic and energy security and climate change

Need to focus on refining industry

  1. If EVs are going to significantly reduce flows of oil through the Indian economy,
  2. policymakers need to ensure that using one less gallon of petrol when driving electric cars will actually cut an equivalent gallon of oil out of the economy
  3. This requires focusing on the refining industry

Indian oil industry is going through a boom

  1. India is eyeing its oil ambitions and undergoing a major oil infrastructure building boom
  2. Between 2010 and 2017, India’s refining capacity grew by 68%—more than any other nation

An important issue: It is difficult to stop producing just petrol

  1. Refineries are systems that heat, cleave, and mix each drop of oil into objects of value like petrol, plastics, and pharmaceuticals
  2. These complicated processes make it difficult to stop producing just petrol without affecting the multitude of other refined products and inputs that have entrenched oil worldwide
    Important constituents of the crude oil(other than petrol)
  3. In India, this includes diesel to run trains on India’s railway network, which carries 23 million passengers daily;
  4. asphalt used to pave nearly 50,000km of roads and highways connecting economic nerve centres to far-flung borders;
  5. LPG that is slated for a 6% increase this year for cooking in a majority of urban households, and replacing wood and animal dung fires in rural areas;
  6. and jet fuel that will enable India’s intensifying desire for air travel
  7. Moreover, a host of other refined petroleum products also find their way into Indian industry, agriculture,households and transportation—from fertilizer to fabrics to food
  8. Even the new EVs employed to reduce oil demand themselves contain many plastic parts (like seats, dashboards and bumpers) and rubber tyres that are derived from oil

The main issue

  1. An EV future that replaces petrol and diesel engines could be one of the keys to sustainable Indian growth
  2. But to ensure this is the case, it must be determined where the displaced hydrocarbon feedstock will go

What should be done?

  1. In order to provide tangible environmental benefits, spare oil fractions cannot be shifted to:
    (1) petrol and diesel exports, (2) used to produce low-quality residual oils to generate electricity to recharge EVs, or (3) result in inefficient refinery operations (that could lead to higher-priced petroleum products)
  2. Instead, it will be important to identify desired outcomes through a thorough refining analysis
  3. that considers new refining configurations, new product slates, redundancies or gaps in refining assets, product transfers across regional boundaries, and impacts on greenhouse gas emissions
  4. The goal is to ensure that EVs offer up an important piece to solve the petroleum puzzle
Apr, 17, 2018

Electric vehicles charging stations need no licence, clarifies Power Ministry

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Electricity Act, National Electric Mobility Mission Plan

Mains level: India’s push for e-vehicles and various schemes related to it


News

Encouraging e-vehicles

  1. The Power Ministry has categorized charging batteries of electric vehicles as a service
  2. The move will help such stations operate without a license and encourage the use of e-vehicles

Electricity Act

  1. Transmission, distribution, and trading of electricity need licences under the Electricity Act
  2. Therefore, all utilities have to seek licences for sale of power to consumers

Why charging stations do not come under the purview of this act?

  1. During the charging of e-vehicles, a station does not perform any activity related to the transmission, distribution or trading of electricity
  2. Hence charging of batteries of electric vehicles through charging station does not any require license under the provision of the Electricity Act 2003

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan

  1. The government’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan launched in 2013 aims at ensuring 6-7 million electric and hybrid vehicles in India by 2020
Feb, 23, 2018

[op-ed snap] Planning for electric mobility

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the b2b

Mains level: Fundamental issues(need to be addressed) discussed in the newscard.


News

Pollution level in India

  1. The World Health Organisation’s urban air quality database had found four Indian cities to be among the world’s 10 most polluted
  2. The database also placed 10 Indian cities in the 20 worst list

Importance of electric vehicles (EVs)

  1. NITI Aayog has estimated that the nation can save up to Rs. 4 lakh crore by rapidly adopting EVs
  2. EVs have the potential to disrupt the mobility ecosystem, and could have a positive impact on the economy as well as the urban environment

Issues

  1. Transitioning from an internal combustion engine (ICE)-based regime to an EV-based one is expected to be a painful process 
  2. NITI Aayog lays stress on the need for a robust action plan to move towards electric mobility by 2030

What should be done?

  1. India needs to address some fundamental issues immediately

FIRST

  1. The first is about who will take the lead
  2. EVs, unlike ICE vehicles, involve several actors at the national, State and city levels, respectively
  3. Coordination between all three is crucial in driving the EV agenda

SECOND

  1. The second is figuring out the best mode forward
  2. China has focussed on the use of electric buses as a catalyst for EV penetration
  3. The Netherlands has captured the EV market using a simple yet well-crafted strategy of creating charging infrastructure and encouraging investment in charging technology by providing incentives to EV buyer
  4. These two case studies show that sustained growth is possible only due to positive economic impacts of EVs. India is today the largest manufacturer and exporter of two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws
  5. Could these vehicles pave the way for an EV revolution?

THIRD

  1. The third is the battery conundrum
  2. India does not produce lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries currently, and companies making battery packs are dependent almost exclusively on imports from China
  3. Accelerating EV use in India should be linked to the “Make in India” goal and domestic battery production
  4. Investment is required for research and development in battery-making and exploring alternative technologies

FOURTH

  1. The fourth is about charging infrastructure
  2. EV charging is more than just using electricity. It involves exchange of information requiring a communication protocol
  3. There is no unique or single-charging technology for EVs
  4. The three major EV users, China, Japan and the European Union, have their own charging technologies which are often conflicting and not interchangeable
  5. The government needs to select or develop appropriate charging technology that avoids multiplicity and reduces the cost of infrastructure, while making it convenient and safe for users

The way forward

  1. India, however, needs a road map, with timelines, processes, well-researched impact studies, bold initiatives and robust investments in technological research to turn its EV dream into reality
Feb, 16, 2018

Govt drops the idea of an India EV policy

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FAME scheme, NITI aayog

Mains level: Prospects of adoption of EV technology in India


News

No need for any India EV policy now

  1. The government has decided against formulating an electric vehicle (EV) policy
  2. This is a remarkable volte-face, given that as recently as last month, the policy was awaiting approval from the union cabinet
  3. The government’s ambitious plan was to shift to electric vehicles by 2030

Industry demand

  1. The existing FAME (incentive) scheme should continue for another two years
  2. Electric vehicles should continue to be taxed at the current level

Benefits of switching to EV

  1. A NITI Aayog report said that adoption of electric and shared vehicles could help India save $60 billion in diesel and petrol, along with cutting down as much as 1 gigatonne of carbon emissions by 2030

Back2Basics

FAME scheme

  1. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India Scheme was launched  with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and Manufacturing eco-system
  2. The FAME India was launched in 2015 under the National Electric Mobility Mission
  3. It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry
  4. The scheme has 4 focus areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure
  5. The FAME India Scheme is aimed at incentivising all vehicle segments i.e. 2 Wheeler, 3 Wheeler Auto, Passenger 4 Wheeler Vehicle, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses
  6. The scheme covers Hybrid & Electric technologies like Mild Hybrid, Strong Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid & Battery Electric Vehicles
Jan, 30, 2018

Electric vehicles: charging infrastructure needs a jolt to meet 2030 target

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Energy Efficiency Services Limited, FAME scheme, National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020

Mains level: Shifting to renewable sources of energy and associated problems


News

All electric vehicle push

  1. Government is mulling on the target to achieve an all-electric fleet of vehicles by 2030
  2. This will need a substantial push from the government and the private sector in terms of setting up the charging infrastructure, enabling cheaper availability of raw materials and incentivising mid-way measures such as hybrid vehicles

What steps have been taken?

  1. Different departments and ministries have stepped up their engagement with the electric vehicle industry
  2. Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a government firm, has put in motion plans to procure 10,000 e-vehicles and has already given out tenders
  3. The Government also notified the scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME), as a part of its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020
  4. The scheme has four focus areas: technology development, pilot project, charging infrastructure and demand creation
  5. The scheme has been extended until March 31, 2018

Is the infrastructure ready?

  1. The Centre has begun pilot projects in this regard
  2. There are several initiatives by the private sector too which aim to install various charging locations across major Indian cities

What are the roadblocks?

  1. Very few global carmakers have brought their electric variants into India
  2. The government has also made a distinction between EVs and hybrid vehicles under the GST regime with hybrid vehicles being taxed at a much higher rate than EVs
  3. People are still sceptical about the shift to all-electric vehicles since they fear the charge duration of the batteries
  4. Most of the chargers being installed across the country are AC chargers which provide a limited charging as compared to DC
  5. Battery technology has not changed over the years- while the cost has reduced, their capacity has not changed as drastically

Way forward

  1. Shifting the fleet to electric will not address the impact on the environment
  2. This has to be accompanied by change in the energy mix to renewable sources

Back2Basics

Energy Efficiency Services Limited

  1. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is a joint venture of four National Public Sector Undertakings – NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation Limited, Rural Electrification Corporation Limited and POWERGRID Corporation of India Limited, set up under Ministry of Power, Government of India
  2. EESL is a Super Energy Service Company (ESCO)
  3. It acts as the resource center for capacity building for State Distribution Companies (DISCOMs), Energy Regulatory Commissions (ERCs), State Development Authorities (SDAs), upcoming ESCOs, financial institutions, etc
  4. EESL is set up to create and sustain markets for energy efficiency in the country
  5. EESL is leading the market related activities of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), one of the 8 national missions under Prime Minister’s National Action Plan to Climate Change
Oct, 17, 2017

[op-ed snap] Time for auto industry to go all electric

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From the UPSC perspective following things are important:

Prelims Level: Particulars of the EV technology

Mains Level: The article is important for both Mains paper 2 and paper 3.


News

Context

  1. The article talks about Electric Vehicles(EVs) and how government is planning to achieve its targets related to EVs.

India is going after clean and renewable energy sources

  1. The government has been working to effect a radical shift in India’s energy production and consumption patterns to reduce dependence on fossil fuels
  2. According to last year’s National Electricity Plan (NEP3) forecast, India will achieve(ahead of schedule), the target of renewable energy being 40% of total power production by 2030
  3. The target was declared at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015

NITI Aayog’s report on mobility transformation 

  1. The government intends that all vehicles sold in India by 2030 should be electric
  2. A recently released NITI Aayog report on mobility transformation outlines a feasible and phased approach to achieve this goal
  3. It presents the government’s vision of a shared, electric and connected mobility paradigm where mobility is a service based on an electric vehicle (EV) fleet, enabled by the convergence of
    (1) low-cost technologies,
    (2) smart designs,
    (3) business model innovation and supportive policies

The government is leading by example

  1. The Central government is calling global tenders for the first 10,000 electric cars, of which a pilot phase of 500 cars has already been awarded to Tata Motors Ltd and Mahindra & Mahindra
  2. Among the states, the Karnataka government has taken the lead in formulating India’s first comprehensive EV policy
  3. The policy will support a complete ecosystem from manufacturing to deployment of charging stations

Why EVs are not popular in India?

  1. Due to range anxiety, high capital cost and long charging time, despite the obvious benefits of very low running costs and zero emission

Government’s plan for Public Transport

  1. Coming to public transport, despite a sharp increase in private vehicle ownership over the last decade, India still relies heavily on public transport
  2. The government plans to make public transport more economical and environment-friendly by promoting electric buses
  3. However, the current generation of electric buses with traditional battery technology are prohibitively expensive at four to five times the cost of a diesel bus

How to counter challenges related to EVs?
One way is “Battery swapping” 

  1. To help bring down the capital cost of electric buses, experts are recommending two things among the various solutions being looked at
    (1) reducing the battery size and
    (2) adopting “swappable” battery technology,
  2. It will help in bringing down the upfront capital cost while reducing the operational cost and charging time
  3. The Indian auto industry is actively working in this direction as it helps state public transport agencies to induct electric bus fleets without incurring too much additional expenditure

Benefits of connected vehicles

  1. The government’s agenda also focuses on developing an ecosystem to support the EV industry
  2. It will enable various stakeholders to stay connected, enabling a high-functioning ,EV-driven public transport system
  3. For example, an electric bus heading for the last stop can signal EV taxis in the area about how many passengers it will be offloading
  4. This ensures optimum onward journey options for the disembarking passengers
  5. Or EVs can communicate with refuelling stations about battery requirements, so there is never a danger of getting stranded
  6. These connected vehicles are also a necessary step towards the inevitable progression to autonomous vehicles

The Way Forward

  1. The auto industry has been growing at a steady pace and India is now becoming an export hub for small and medium-sized cars
  2. This leaves the auto industry well-placed to go all out on electric
  3. This is an opportune time for the auto industry to embrace the government’s EV push and collaborate with technology and mobility solution providers to capitalize on this opportunity
  4. It will hugely benefit the nation, economically and environmentally
Aug, 19, 2017

[op-ed snap] Getting charged up

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Q.) “Research and smart trade agreements are needed to realise India’s ambitious electric vehicles target.” What kind of research and trade agreements are we looking for?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NEMMP, CEEW

Mains level: This topic is strategically and environmentally important.


News

Context

  1. The article is related to India’s ‘ambitious electric vehicles target’

Important announcement

  1. The Government has recently announced that only electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold in India from 2030
  2. The current National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) has set a sales target of only 5-7 million EVs and hybrid electric vehicles annually by 2020

What is needed to achieve the above target?

  1. The Indian automobile market is expected to increase to an annual sales figure of around 23 million by 2030
  2. Replacing these with EVs would require a significant push as far as vehicle-charging infrastructure and batteries are concerned
  3. Technical Requirement: The transition would require a battery capacity of about 400 GWh (gigawatt hours) each year
  4. It is equivalent to increasing the current global EV battery production by a factor of five, just to cater to the Indian EV market

Can this target be achieved by imports?

  1. The annual EV battery market is expected to be around $30-55 billion
  2. India cannot afford to fulfil the demand solely through imports

What kind of batteries are used in EVs?

  1. Variants of lithium-ion batteries such as lithium-titanate, lithium-cobalt, and lithium-sulphurare predominantly used in electric vehicles

A Study by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)

  1.  According to a study on India’s critical non-fuel minerals by the CEEW, manufacturing lithium-ion batteries would require critical minerals
  2. These minerals includes cobalt, graphite, lithium and phosphate
  3. Among them, lithium is of particular importance

Issues with lithium Prices

  1. 95% of global lithium production comes from Argentina, Australia, Chile and China
  2. The recent demand surge in the electric mobility market has already resulted in a twofold increase in lithium prices
  3. It is estimated by the CEEW that India would require about 40,000 tonnes of lithium to manufacture EV batteries in 2030
  4. it is important that India secure mineral supplies for its domestic industry by acquisition of overseas assets such as mineral reserves and the associated production

The Way forward

  1. There is a need to formulate policies which can encourage domestic public and private mining companies to invest in overseas lithium mining assets
  2. Also, India must focus on creating a vibrant battery research and development ecosystem domestically
  3. Research should focus on developing alternative technologies containing minerals with low supply risks
  4. And battery recycling techniques to recover associated minerals and materials
  5. Recycling lithium batteries will significantly reduce the burden in procuring fresh resources

 

Aug, 09, 2017

[op-ed snap] The hybrid route

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Q.) “An incremental, technology-neutral approach to the adoption of electric vehicles is the way forward for Automobile Sector in India” Comment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Different types of Electric Vehicles

Mains level: This article is related to many topics of the mains syllabus viz Environment, Industry, Government Policies, etc.


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the automobile sector in India and the future of electric mobility in India

India’s performance in Automobile Sector

  1. India went through a radical transformation from a minor manufacturer of automobiles to the fastest growing auto-hub within a short span
  2. Progressive policy has led to India emerging as the fifth largest automobile manufacturing country in the world
  3. How: by adopting a consistent, well thought out Automotive Mission Plan 2006-2016 (AMP)

Contribution to Employment Generation

  1. The auto industry provides direct and indirect employment to 32 million people with an annual turnover of nearly Rs 6,00,000 crore

How India’s policy in this sector is different from that of China?

  1. India’s has achieved success without the adoption of coercive policies for localisation of production as is done in China
  2. India’s success is attributed to positive engagement maintained with global giants, for establishing competitive manufacturing base in India

World is now going for non-fossil fuel vehicles

  1. The world is still largely dependent on fossil fuels for transportation
  2. But there is now an increased momentum towards alternate energy sources

India’s take on non-fossil fuel vehicles

  1. Besides the environment, India also has strategic and economic interest in shifting away from fossil fuels
  2. Challenge: The challenge ahead is not only on how to encourage electric automobiles but also to take the industry forward without losing India’s current competitive advantage

Different types of Electric vehicles

  1. Pure electric vehicles (BEVs) that use energy stored in batteries obtained from the grid
  2. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs)

Global experience in Electric mobility sector

  1. Global experience indicates that most countries have adopted a technology-neutral approach
  2. And supported the full range of electric vehicle technologies till such time that they attained market acceptability

The way forward

  1. The government should push more aggressively for the BEV option for of two-wheelers and three-wheelers
  2. And support the full range of electric technologies for other vehicle segments with a clear roadmap for the evolution towards FCVs
  3. Hopefully, to reduce fossil fuel consumption, lower pollution and encourage electric mobility, a more holistic approach will be adopted by the government
Nov, 23, 2016

[pib] Remember FAME India scheme?

  1. FAME India Scheme: [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India]
  2. Objective: Support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and Manufacturing eco-system.
  3. The scheme has 4 focus areas: Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.
  4. During the Financial Year 2015-16, an amount of Rs. 75 Crore was allocated for this scheme, which was almost fully utilised. That’s great!
  5. Under this scheme, about 99000 hybrid/electric vehicles (xEVs) have been given direct support by way of demand incentives
Nov, 23, 2016

[pib] How do we decide on the closures of Sick PSUs?

  1. Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), as a nodal department issues guidelines for closure of sick/ loss making CPSEs and disposal of movable and immovable assets
  2. CPSE = Central Public Sector Enterprises
  3. The concerned administrative Ministries /Departments are responsible for formulation and implementation of closure plans
  4. NITI Aayog carries out monitoring the implementation of the decision of closure.
  5. Remember the roles of these 3 bodies just in case UPSC Prelims grills you on these!