Time to plug in?
Electric cars and two-wheelers are very much in the global limelight today, but does it make sense for us here at home as well? A closer look will remind us not to jump the gun.
What is very clear is that India needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels—today, about 80% of our crude oil needs are imported, pushing up the current account deficit. Oil imports particularly get more expensive when the rupee weakens against the dollar and a focus on electric/hybrid cars may initially save as much as R30,000 crore a year, as per official estimates.
But, in a country that does not have electricity either, could electric hybrids and not pure electric cars be a better idea? At a national level, India faces a peak power deficiency of 13%, while the voltage is not constant and power outages are common. Charging pure electric cars is thus an obvious challenge and the situation is not likely to change over the next 4-5 years either—the 12th Five-Year Plan aims to add 80,000 MW to the current 2 lakh MW capacity, but this may just remain numbers on paper, given the myriad challenges of fuel availability (gas, coal), land acquisition and environment/forest clearances. This means an
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