Indian cities today are one of the most polluted cities in the world, constantly ranking in the top 20 when it comes to poor Air Quality Index. With our ever-increasing population, this problem is expected to be more severe in the coming years.
Vehicular traffic accounts for more than 30% of the air pollution. Also, greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels significantly add to global warming. To top it all, India imports most of its crude oil requirement, thus, increasing dependency on oil producing nations. These imports put significant strain on the Indian economy.
The only way to reduce air pollution and economic burden is to develop alternate sources of clean energy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Electric Vehicle (EV) technology possess a significant potential to help address the current issues of air pollution and fossil fuel dependency.
Understanding this problem, the govt. of India unveiled the National Electric Mobility Mission 2020 (NEMMP) to address problems related to air pollution, energy self-sufficiency and to boost domestic EV manufacturing capabilities.
Another significant commitment towards the adoption of EVs was recently made with the intent to replace most of the current vehicles in govt. service with EVs by 2030. To incentivize the purchase of EVs, the govt. started the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) Scheme, offering subsidies ranging from Rs. 1800 to Rs. 1.4 lakhs for different types of electric vehicles.
The spend on EVs and eco-friendly technology is now considered to be part of the corporate CSR budget. This incentivizes corporates to use EVs for their employee transportation services (ETS). EVs also account for significant carbon savings, which can be of great value for a global organization focused on reducing their carbon emissions.
Electric vehicle is a boon for organizations aiming to reduce their CO2 emissions.
Even when the govt. is doing its part to incentivize the adoption of EVs, there is a larger role to be played by EV manufacturing companies, electric distribution companies and even by the common man of India who is the ultimate consumer of electric technology.
EVs available in the market today are almost 2 times costlier than the regular ICE vehicles due to high battery costs. Also, most of them are limited by range and battery charging requirements, which limits their wide-scale adoption. EV manufacturers must try to solve this situation and make them more affordable if there has to be a wide scale adoption of EV technology.
The electric distribution companies have a much bigger responsibility, i.e. to ensure that there are sufficient charging stations available across geographies so that range should not be a limitation for EV adoption. Just like we have petrol and gas stations almost everywhere, electric charging stations or battery swap stations have to come up across highways to ensure that an EV is not left stranded in the middle of the road due to lack of charge.
Though the current range of most EVs (varying from 50-200 km) address this problem, having charging stations within a radius of 3 to 5 km could help reduce the range anxiety of the typical EV customer.
Last, but the most important part is to be played by the consumer of EV technology- the common man. We have to understand that pollution and global warming affects each and every one of us and caring for the environment is not just the government’s job.
The most important role to be played by the consumer of EV technology- the Common Man
The cost-conscious Indian consumer may find it hard to digest the higher EV costs. However, we must understand that investing in EV means investing in our bright future. We need to show our commitment to EV technology by buying or renting at least one EV per household so that the EV manufacturers and electric distribution companies are incentivized to work at a faster pace. This will further help create an EV ecosystem, beneficial for everyone.
A broader question for each one of us is ‘What kind of environment are we planning to bequeath for our future generations?’. Do we want to ensure a sustainable future for our future generations or do we want to pollute the environment so much that it becomes uninhabitable for everyone in the near future?
The current human generation is at an inflection point in the history of the earth. A choice has to be made by all of us for a better future for generations to come. And this choice needs to be made soon before it is too late.