Just as there are a variety of technologies available in conventional vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles (also known as electric cars or EVs) have different capabilities that can accommodate different drivers’ needs. A major feature of EVs is that drivers can plug them in to charge from an off-board electric power source. This distinguishes them from hybrid electric vehicles, which supplement an internal combustion engine with battery power but cannot be plugged in.
There are two basic types of EVs: all-electric vehicles (AEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). AEVs include Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). In addition to charging from the electrical grid, both types are charged in part by regenerative braking, which generates electricity from some of the energy normally lost when braking.
All-electric vehicles (AEVs) run only on electricity. Most have all-electric ranges of 80 to 100 miles, while a few luxury models have ranges up to 250 miles. When the battery is depleted, it can take from 30 minutes (with fast charging) up to nearly a full day (with Level 1 charging) to recharge it, depending on the type of charger and battery.
If this range is not sufficient, a plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) may be a better choice. PHEVs run on electricity for shorter ranges (6 to 40 miles), then switch over to an internal combustion engine running on gasoline when the battery is depleted. The flexibility of PHEVs allows drivers to use electricity as often as possible while also being able to fuel up with gasoline if needed. Powering the vehicle with electricity from the grid reduces fuel costs, cuts petroleum consumption, and reduces tailpipe emissions compared with conventional vehicles. When driving distances are longer than the all-electric range, PHEVs act like hybrid electric vehicles, consuming less fuel and producing fewer emissions than similar conventional vehicles. Depending on the model, the internal combustion engine may also power the vehicle at other times, such as during rapid acceleration or when using heating or air conditioning. PHEVs could also use hydrogen in a fuel cell, biofuels, or other alternative fuels as a back-up instead of gasoline.
The electric vehicle revolution in India is afoot and the charge is being led by two-wheelers and three-wheelers. And while the movement in the passenger vehicle has been rather cautious, there is a shift at play here as well which augers well for the future of electric mobility in India. A recent report published by KPMG and CII has now highlighted the role that state EV policies could also play in promoting EV adoption in the country.
Highlighting how state government can provide impetus to sale of EVs as against conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines, the report titled ‘Shifting gears: the evolving electric vehicle landscape in India’ notes that people at large need to be given reasons to switch to battery power through a number of ways. The report recommends that hiking road tax/registration fees on conventional vehicles, surcharge on parking of such vehicles and de-registering them could sway people towards EVs. It further notes that setting up of charging infrastructure as well as taking out vehicle scrappage policy – currently pending approval from central government stakeholders – could also massively boost EV adoption. “A widespread network of charging stations is vital for ensuring the fast adoption of EVs,” states Rohan Rao, Partner – Industrials and Automotive, KPMG in India.
Currently, states including Delhi, Gujarat and Telangana have a firm EV policy in place with others expected to follow. The KPMG-CII report emphasizes that such EV policies ought to have set targets for conversions of EVs and underscores how Delhi, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu have such targets in place already.
The Delhi government in August 2020, had announced its ‘Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy’ with CM Arvind Kejriwal touting it as the best in India and among the best globally. Under it, his government will waive registration fee and road tax, and provide incentive of up to ₹1.5 lakh for new electric cars in the national capital. There will also be incentives of up to ₹30,000 on electric two-wheelers, autos, e-rickshaws and freight vehicle. The policy also envisages installation of 200 charging stations – one every three kilometres.
The move invited positive responses with Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) saying it will provide more push to the existing EV architecture than the current FAME II scheme by the Centre.
The central government also is determined in the cause towards electric mobility and wants to speed up supporting infrastructure. News agency PTI recently reported that there is a plan being considered to put charging kiosks at the around 69,000 fuel stations across the country. Under the new guidelines of the oil ministry, new petrol pumps must have an option of one alternative fuel and that most are opting for EV charging points.
The same report informed that the country’s power ministry has also chalked out a plan to focus on Delhi National Capital Region, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Vadodara and Bhopal for creating EV charging infrastructure in cities as well as on highways to encourage people to switch over to electric mobility. “The minister (R K Singh) is of the view that putting up two or three charging stations in any city would be a waste of funds. Besides, the central government is looking at complete electrification of public transport in Delhi, which can later be followed in other cities,” a source was quoted as saying.
A complete electrification of public transport could be a big shot in the arm for the EV movement in Delhi and pave the way for other cities to follow. Delhi Transport minister Kailash Gahlot has been in talks with Singh and has said that the Centre has assured that subsidy will be provided for 1,000 electric buses in the city.
Industrialists like Anand Mahindra are among many who have already said on record that Delhi ‘may become the cradle of India’s EV movement. And with more and more manufacturers coming out with EV offerings across different segments and price brackets, the rather audacious aim of having all all-electric cars on Indian roads may well be taking shape from the power lanes of the capital city.
For now, and the foreseeable future though, the EV path, India is on, will most likely be paved by two and three-wheelers. KPMG in India expects 25% to 35% electric two-wheeler penetration, and 65% to 75% in electric three-wheelers by 2030 with passenger vehicle electrification following. “To drive EV adoption, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and the government, both at state and central levels, need to work collaboratively towards an integrated policy, creating a conducive ecosystem for India’s electric mobility vision,” the report notes.
India is the fourth largest auto market in the world and some estimates suggest there are close to 170 active investors in EV startup ecosystem in the country. And while the government targets 30% penetration of EVs in the automobile sales, this is largely expected to be powered by e-two-wheelers and e-three-wheelers, not PVs. A recent report taken out by Data Labs which also relied on data from Niti Aayog, highlighted that the share of electric passenger vehicles in the entire Indian EV ecosystem in 2019 was a mere 0.5% and that by 2030, such electrified passenger vehicles are likely to form 5.8% of all passenger vehicles sold in the country. When compared to present statistics and how and the rate at which EVs are growing in numbers in European countries, the intent seems right even if the pace seems rather slow.
Case compiled from various sources
Are Electric vehicles eco-efficient? Justify using case facts. [5 marks]
Judge the Electric vehicles policy of Delhi based on concept[s] discussed in class. [5 marks]
In reference to the KPMG and CII Report, discuss successful adoption strategy for Electric vehicles. [5 marks]
Are Electric vehicles a good option? Answer from the perspective of the policy maker considering any adequate theoretical concept discussed in class. [5 marks]
Given the case facts, if you were toying about entering the Electric vehicles industry, you have two choices- either enter the industry or not. Explain your choice based on your learnings from Module 3 and 4. [5 marks]
List three hurdles to the spread of electric vehicles in a country like India? (6)
Indicate three strategies which the electric vehicle manufacturers can apply to capture greater markets in India. (6)
The article states that the government is encouraging the spread of electric vehicles infrastructure in some cities of India. Delhi could be the first city to shift to complete electric vehicle infrastructure. How do you think the consumer behavior towards buying electric vehicles with change with such initiatives? (5)
As a businessman planning to build electric vehicles, would you invest in research in electric vehicles technology or would you import the technology from abroad? Answer the same question if instead of a businessman, you were a policymaker who had to make policies for electric vehicle adoption in India. (8)