The EV industry provides opportunities for businesses to use renewable energy. As organisations wish to be more environmentally conscious with their business endeavours, EVs are becoming more prevalent and renewable energy is on the rise because it lowers the carbon footprint and broadens energy supplies.
Distributed renewable energy sources play a major role in achieving sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the way we live. This is especially helpful where access to other energy sources are difficult, because of its wide availability and increased efficiency.
India has the world’s third largest renewable energy production, and its share of renewable energy capacity continues to grow.
In terms of the EV industry, using renewable energy sources can make charging electric vehicles more eco-friendly and allow for a lower cost of the electricity. Solar panels are the most easily accessible resource in terms of availability. To promote decentralized solar power plants, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has formed draft guidelines for developers. Several EV charging stations are already taking advantage of this by using solar panels to gain their own power.
Not only can one charge their vehicles with renewable energy, but they are also able to trade it. Power trading allows charging stations to purchase energy from one source.
The Ministry of Power notified of the Electricity Rules, 2022, which will allow small consumers to purchase renewable energy through open access as well. The Ministry has opened up access to consumers from all scales and reduced the limit of transaction from 1 MW to 100 kW.
An open access and renewable hybrid model which brings together several kinds of energy generation or makes use of more than one type of fuel is the best bet for charging/swapping stations. With a hybrid system, one can increase the amount of adaptable energy generation as well as reliability in areas where electricity access might be difficult.
It is important for the EV industry to ensure moving forward that EV operations are truly green. This can happen with the reuse and recycling of automobile batteries. Used E-car batteries, for example, are versatile and can also be used for power storage in homes and industry, instead of in cars.
The lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles are large, heavy and contain valuable metals like cobalt. However, if not carefully dismantled; they can explode and release hazardous materials.
India does not have a commercial recycling system for batteries. They are piled up and thrown away in landfills with no assessment of their environmental impact.
To fix this, India has established guidelines on managing battery waste which require manufacturers to provide recycling facilities for spent batteries, thus mandating extended producer responsibility. Some financial benefits are also provided by the government to boost recycling measures.
To make electric vehicles truly sustainable, it is important to look at both sustainable energy generation for the batteries and charging/swapping stations, as well as develop an efficient battery reuse system. This will ensure that the foundation of sustainability underlying the electric vehicle ecosystem is improved in the years to come.
The author is Varun Goenka, CEO and Co- Founder, Chargeup.
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