The Union Budget 2018, introduced in Parliament on February 1, 2018, had many announcements pertaining to healthcare, agricultural and educational reforms, but hardly had anything on electric and green mobility. ASSOCHAM along with NRI Consulting & Solutions India has published an electric mobility report, urging the government to set up a National Electric Vehicle Forum which will facilitate the policy-making process in this regard.
In the report, Sandeep Jajodia President, ASSOCHAM has stated that nothing has caught the imagination of the industry and policy makers quite like the government’s ambitious plans for a mass scale shift to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. While the transformative push for electric vehicles has become a cause célèbre for India and the world, it presents challenges along with a host of opportunities.
The report emphasised the necessity of 3Cs – Consumer Acceptance, Cost Reduction and Charging Infrastructure – for achieving the vision as well as the global learnings from countries already working to satisfy the 3Cs. The paper further elaborated the peculiarities of the EV ecosystem in India along with all aspects of the EV value chain.
Noting that electric vehicles and electrification of powertrain complement each other, the report also highlighted that countries, world over, have devised policies based on their context (market size, consumer preferences, energy mix, availability of raw materials, etc.) and India needs its own, considering the fact that lithium reserves and cobalt reserves are not widely available in India as they are in China and Congo.
Hence, manufacturing battery and hybrid electric vehicles with immediate effects may not be a suitable policy for India, neither policy-wise as it will increase its dependency on China, nor cost wise.
The report thus stressed upon the need for a National Electric Vehicle Forum, where these issues can be discussed in detail before the rollout of a countrywide policy.
The Big Fallacy Of Going All-EV In India
In Norway, 28% of the electric vehicles are helping the climate positively, as the country generates all its electricity from renewable sources only. However, electric vehicles in India are more like a misguided race, owing to a number of reasons.
More than 70% of the electricity in the country is produced directly from fossil fuels. Electrically-powered vehicles, therefore, run on the same fuel. However, if electric vehicles are pushed further without upgrading the electricity generation process, the same electricity will be stored in batteries to power vehicles.
In the process, charging and discharging would eat up to 63% of the energy. This will result in more fossil fuel burn than the present scenario.
The big question, therefore, is that given the electricity generation in India is red/orange category process, how can electric vehicles fall into the green category?
Before ASSOCHAM, Shekar Viswanathan, Vice-chairman and whole-time Director at Toyota Kirloksar Motor had also opined that going all-EV is not the best answer to curb pollution in India. It is not the way forward.