Electric Vehicles need to travel a long road before they become mainstream mode of mobility in India. Discuss. (250 Words)

Mentors Comments:
1. Mention the EV targets set by government
2. Discuss the benefits of EVs
3. Discuss the challenges they face
4. While providing feasible solutions to EVs, mention your opinion on EV based mobility.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are automobiles that run on electricity only. They are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. Electric vehicles are cleaner than petroleum-fuelled vehicles and are seen as a promising solution to global warming. Indian government is making strong push in favour of the electric vehicles or the e-vehicles.

The Need for EVs in India are as follows-
1. Climate change
 Problem of rapid global temperature increase has created the need for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and the associated emissions.
 India has committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33% to 35% percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
2. Rapid urbanization
 Economic development leads to rapid urbanization in emerging nations as rural populations move non-agricultural sectors in cities creating environmental problems.
 According to a recent study by WHO, India is home to 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world. EVs will help in tackling this problem by reducing local concentrations of pollutants in cities.
3. Energy security
 India imports oil to cover over 80 percent of its transport fuel.
 EVs can reduce dependence on imported crude oil promoting India’s energy security.
4. Innovation
 It will encourage cutting edge technology in India through adoption, adaptation, and research and development.
 EVs manufacturing capacity will promote global scale and competitiveness.
5. Employment
 Promotion of EVs will facilitate employment growth in a sun-rise sector.
6. Clean and Low carbon Energy
 The shift towards renewable energy sources has led to cost reduction from better electricity generating technologies. This has introduced the possibility of clean, low-carbon and inexpensive grids.
7. Cutting edge Battery Technology
 Advances in battery technology have led to higher energy densities, faster charging and reduced battery degradation from charging. Combined with the development of motors with higher rating and reliability, these improvements in battery chemistry have reduced costs and improved the performance and efficiency of electric vehicles.

Following are the challenges facing the transition to EV are-
 Price Volatility:
o The first has to do with policy volatility. E-mobility is a nascent industry in India and most of the developing countries. Capital costs are high and the payoff is uncertain.
o Inconsistencies remain. For instance, while electric vehicles are taxed at 12% under the goods and services tax (GST), batteries were taxed at 28% until recently. This has now been lowered to 18% but the discrepancy still exists.
 Lack of policy certainty: Cannot frame in Isolation:
o The lack of policy certainty spills over into perhaps the single most important element of enabling e-vehicle usage: charging infrastructure.
o Lack of attention on building charging infrastructure.
 Local and Private Investment results in Low Cost production Technology:
o Localization is another tricky area, as the strife caused by the rupee’s depreciation has shown.
o India does not have any known reserves of lithium and cobalt, which makes it entirely dependent on imports of lithium-ion batteries from Japan and China.
 Short Driving Range and Speed
o Most of these cars have range about 50-100 miles and need to be recharged again.
 Battery Recharge Issues
o An electric car takes about 4-6 hours to get fully charged. Therefore there is a need for dedicated power stations as the time taken to recharge them is quite long.
 Not Suitable for Cities Facing Shortage of Power
o Cities already facing acute power shortage are not suitable for electric cars.
o The consumption of more power would hamper their daily power needs.
 High cost
o The primary reason for the current high prices of EVs is the expensive battery
 Lack of skilled workers: EVs have higher servicing costs and higher levels of skills is needed for servicing. India lacks dedicated training courses for such skill development.

Way forward:
 Education curriculum and skill development plans should be upgraded to match the requirements of the sectors.
 Stabilizing policy environment by working on tax incentives, non-fiscal incentives can address the uncertainty of demand helping the industry to achieve economies of scale.
 EVs are rapidly growing sunrise sector which can give push to ‘Make in India’.
 Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with countries rich in materials like Lithium, rare earth materials etc. to deal with lack of availability of these materials.
 Establishing the right coordination among three pillars of EV industry i.e. urban planning, transportation and power sectors will assist in systematic adoption of EVs.
 Affordable, accessible, inclusive and safe mobility solutions are primary strategic levers for rapid economic development and improving ‘Ease of Living’.

The future of electric vehicles looks quite promising but that long-term government policy on electric vehicles is very much required and the lowest possible taxation is needed to boost the industry.

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