Until a few decades ago, climate change was treated as a possibility. However, today it is a harsh reality and an existential threat facing our planet. Globally, major areas that contribute to environmental pollution, such as vehicle emissions, are scrutinized. Clean mobility technology companies are relentlessly pursuing the goal of “reversing climate change and improving lives” through electric vehicles.
As one of the most populous countries in the world, India has huge mobility needs. It is estimated that the growing economic resurgence will lead nearly 40 million Indians to seek mobility solutions by 2030. The country is now strategically gearing up to meet this demand in a sustainable way through electric vehicle technology.
The Indian government aims to convert at least 30% of new vehicle sales to electric vehicles by 2030. By achieving this goal, we can reduce billions of tons of carbon emissions. This will be a key step towards the global goal of net zero by 2070.
The adoption of electric mobility not only bodes well for the environment, but it will also play a key role in the overall socio-economic development of communities. Improving the quality of life for the masses is essential for holistic sustainability. As fuel prices reach new all-time highs, conventional ICE-powered vehicles are becoming increasingly expensive to operate. Therefore, electric vehicles can also be an excellent alternative as an affordable and climate-friendly public transport system.
Although the benefits of electric vehicles are not lost on anyone, the challenge we face today is to build the ecosystem necessary for their mass adoption. Currently, despite the environmental gains that can be achieved through electric vehicles, there are challenges such as lack of access, affordability and efficiency. These three factors are critical to the success of electric vehicles in India, and this is where a concerted effort by all stakeholders is needed.
Compared to fossil fuel vehicles, electric vehicles are more expensive to own. This higher cost, coupled with lower operational range due to charging issues, can be detrimental to the public adoption of these vehicles. To realize the optimal environmental benefits of electric mobility, players in the electric vehicle ecosystem are now using advanced technologies and innovation to solve emerging challenges.
The initial cost of electric vehicles can be reduced by eliminating the hassle of purchasing batteries when purchasing new vehicles. The Indian government has already allowed it in certain categories, which can reduce the initial cost of a vehicle by 30-40%. Instead of purchasing the battery, vehicle buyers can purchase a trade-in subscription where the battery is purchased, monitored, and serviced by a trade-in service provider. Vehicle owners pay only per use and enjoy easy swap support on the go, through the network of battery swap stations.
This arrangement also bodes well for vehicle efficiency and range. There’s no need to worry about charging because whenever the battery is about to run out, the built-in battery management software guides the driver to the nearest station and within minutes, the vehicle can be driven again with a fully charged battery. Leading Indian battery exchange vendors are using state-of-the-art AI, analytics and IoT-based solutions to monitor battery performance on the go. There is also a constant improvement in cell technology, and battery manufacturers are dedicated to improving cell design and chemistry.
Currently, access to battery swap and charging stations is the other major concern holding people back from adopting electric vehicles. The common perception is that although battery charging and swapping stations are being built in major cities, no such facilities exist in Tier 3 and 4 towns and villages. However, with the momentum current situation and the coming together of central and state governments as well as private operators, there is a rapid accumulation of charging facilities and battery swapping stations. The government will also implement the national battery exchange policy. Once the interoperability framework as well as the development of battery exchange networks are ready, we will see a massive increase in infrastructure.
With better support and the elimination of cost/range concerns, it will be easier for the tens of millions of Indians and companies operating last mile transport fleets to go electric. Eventually, we will be able to slow emissions, address long-term environmental damage while improving lives on the path to zero emissions!
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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