- In line with its clean energy policy, the present union government in India is giving a big push to top brands to bring out electric cars.
- Tesla, Ford, and Porsche have shown several developments over the last two years in the electric car space.
- Despite claims made by the leaders in the electric cars arena on how fast they would launch new electric and hybrid cars, experts say India can’t completely shift to electric cars anytime soon due to several challenges that linger in front of us.
Addressing an industry conference way back in 2017, Nitin Gadkari, the transport Minister made a startling announcement that India would move to 100% electric cars by 2030. He remarked, “I am going to do this, whether you like it or not. And I am not going to ask you. I will bulldoze it.” Even as the government of India appeared to be vigorously pursuing its green energy goals, industry experts claimed this was an ambitious target since even developed nations like UK and France were hopeful of moving out into electric cars only by 2040. Eventually, the BJP Government is seen to have diluted its plans for electric cars targeting only 30% of them to be on Indian roads by 2030.
The electric cars industry scenario in India right now
The top reasons for the government to dilute its electric car target are the fear of job losses and a push back by the industry. Perceiving the challenges faced by the country in completely shifting to electric cars in the near future, the government is now focusing on two-wheelers and three-wheelers. As per the new proposal, the government wishes to see only electric three-wheelers running on Indian roads by 2023 and only electric two-wheelers by the year 2025. The two predominant objectives in front of the government for moving towards the electric vehicles seem to be controlling pollution as well as taking a lead in the industry that is fast emerging.
What are electric cars?
Electric cars are those that are propelled by one or more electric powered motors that draw energy from stored rechargeable batteries instead of internally burning out fossil fuels and exhausting air-polluting smoke. The three kinds of electric cars the Indian car makers are manufacturing at present include solar-powered electric cars, hybrid cars running on a mix of batteries and internal combustion, and fully battery-powered electric cars.
The future of electric cars in India
Google trends reveal to us that over the last few years there is a sharp rise in interest among the consumers for electric cars when compared with electric two-wheelers and cars powered by fossil-fuel-powered engines. For several reasons, electric cars appear to be a promising option for Indian buyers.
Electric car advantages
As per the fundamental understanding, the operating cost of electric cars is considerably lower estimated as 75 to 80% cheaper than what it would cost to run a petrol or diesel car. This is because it is much cheaper to charge a battery than refueling a petrol or diesel tank. Electric cars have fewer moving components that will result in a much lower maintenance bill. Also, electric cars are advantageous with regard to their better performance and drivability.
Challenges in moving to electric cars
Most buyers are highly apprehensive about the speed and range of electric cars. The other challenges found in India in rolling out the electric cars are worth noting here.
Absence of primary cell manufacturing
In India, there is a complete absence of primary battery cell manufacturing at present. Hence there is a risk of increasing our trade deficit. Right now, most manufacturers are depending on the batteries imported from China, Japan, Europe, and Korea. India must now develop indigenous technologies like aluminum fuel cells that will satisfy the strategic as well as economic concerns.
Developing charging infrastructure
The biggest challenge in moving to electric cars is the inadequate charging infrastructure which must be combined with the conventional refueling stations. People must find some alternative charging locations closer to their homes. Also, the charging infrastructure in the country needs to be standardized. In fact, the standards that must be adopted for faster charging are perplexing for EV charging station vendors right now.
Improving battery performance
Electric charging infrastructure in the country will need significant time for replication. Batteries must become more durable to be able to compete with the internal combustion engine cars.
Supply – demand gap
One of the major challenges that prevent the industry from moving to electric cars is that the range is considerably limited which places constraints on use-cases for electric cars. Electric cars can become more promising for the Indian market if larger and more cost-effective batteries that can provide an encouraging overall range are manufactured in a way meeting the overwhelming demand.
Grip capacity issue
As per the Niti Ayog report, India will need a minimum of 10 GWh of cells within the next two years. This must be expandable to about 50 GWh by the year 2025. India is at present adding up 20 GW to its grids year on year to meet the increasing energy requirements. Adding up an additional 10 GW to meet the demands of electric cars would be a huge expectation.
Efforts by the government are promising though
Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant said in a press meeting, “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.”
Also, the government is at present contemplating tax cuts, rebates, and incentives for those that would bring out more electric cars. Facilities to access capital towards R&D and manufacturing are enhanced now. Promotion of indigenous technologies, access to vehicular loans for buying electric cars, slashing GST on EVs, tax-exempt loans for buying electric cars, and many other measures to see that the goal of seeing only electric cars realized as soon as possible.