Need to accelerate clean mobility towards a greener tomorrow

As per data available from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, a total of 13,92,265 electric vehicles are running on the roads of India.

Need to accelerate clean mobility towards a greener tomorrow

Dr. Satish Kumar

India has identified clean mobility as a part of the larger goal of limiting the impacts of climate change. India pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 and to increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030 at the 26th Conference of Parties (Glasgow) in 2021. Between 2021 and 2030, India pledged to cut one billion tonnes of estimated carbon emissions.

Mobility in India is undergoing a paradigm shift to move towards greener options. With a sectoral share of 13.2% and a current GDP contribution of 6.3%, India’s transportation industry ranks third in terms of Carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions. It is anticipated that rapid developments in technology, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability will redefine mobility solutions.

As per data available from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, a total of 13,92,265 electric vehicles are running on the roads of India, of which, the total number of three-wheeler stands at 7,93,370, two-wheeler at 5,44,643 followed by the number of four-wheeler that stands at 54,252. The growth scenario is expected to be ramped up over the coming 3-5 years.

However, critical actions, such as charging infrastructure, the safety of the EVs, renewable energy-powered EV charging, and electrifying last-mile delivery are the need of the hour to create a sustainable EV ecosystem in India. One of the main issues facing the EV industry right now is the lack of charging infrastructure. There are just 1,800 public charging stations throughout the nation at the moment. To meet the increased demand brought on by the estimated 1.4 million EVs predicted to be driving on the roads by 2027, this number is anticipated to rise to 1,00,000 units.

Assuming a 30% EV penetration into an estimated 10 million car population by 2030, Delhi alone is expected to require over 300,000 high-speed charging stations, requiring an investment of about $1.5 billion (about Rs 11,000 crore).

India needs to change its transportation strategy to put more emphasis on public transportation (mainly e-buses and rail-based systems) in addition to private vehicles in order to fulfil its e-mobility ambitions. The strategy of the current path of introducing more cars that use expensive imported gasoline is not sustainable in the long run. Cars clog up already crowded cities that are plagued by infrastructure bottlenecks and severe air pollution. On the other hand, a focus on public transportation and the resulting decrease in CO2 will greatly improve the liveability and environment of crowded cities.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are putting a lot of effort into accelerating the manufacturing of EV batteries. With the government’s push towards clean mobility, by providing capital subsidy through Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India, (FAME) India Scheme Phase II and state-level initiatives, OEMs will have a vast manufacturing ecosystem in place to supply the components and vehicles.

As there is little knowledge of EVs among car owners and a great deal of scepticism about them, there is a need for an outreach campaign to encourage people to switch to EVs because they are not only affordable but also help the environment. To ease these concerns, customers must be informed about the advantages of EVs and the proposed infrastructure by city administrations and the automotive industry. Exhibitions, sales at a discount, information sharing, the use of cost- and emission-saving calculators, and real-time monitoring of financial and environmental advantages are just a few examples of such outreach strategies.

With the launch of e-autos and e-buses Delhi inducted under Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), EVs in Delhi have seen steady growth in the past 2 years. The sales of EVs along with the charging points, charging stations, and battery swapping stations have exponentially increased, signifying a major shift towards EVs. This model should be adopted by other states as well, resulting in lesser carbon emissions and clean mobility.

India will quickly convert to having ecologically friendly and economically advantageous transportation systems and fulfilling its climate goals if cities are successful in playing their part in driving the EV transition, with enough assistance from the centre and states.

The author is President & Executive Director at Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), one of the leading organisation in India that works on creating awareness about energy efficiency.

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First published on: 13-11-2022 at 12:00 IST