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Published:Monday, November 19, 2018 5:45 PM

An Anxiety for Electric Vehicles: Key Challenges to be Addressed

renewable energy

After India’s commitment towards climate change during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-21) in Paris, the union government planned a major shift from the petroleum product run vehicles to Electric Vehicles (EVs) by 2030.

The government of India aims of having more than 10 million electric vehicles on the Indian roads by 2030, seems to be very promising. Yet, it is filled with lots of stumbling blocks and challenges too. Providing proper and secure charging infrastructure in the country is the biggest challenge. No doubt! Electric Vehicles are the future of the world. So, this makes it vitally important for the government to address the bottlenecks of the sector including policy formation, clarity & amendments; proper charging infrastructure; network upgrade challenges etc. Moreover, there is also a need to create proper facilities for safe and eco-friendly disposal of used batteries in future.

Recently, the Society of Electric Vehicles Manufacturers (SMEV) has also suggested the government to make such policies that will help domestic manufacturers in the short-term such as beginning from 3 months time period to a maximum term of 3 years because this will provide clarity to companies that have already invested in the development and manufacturing of EVs in the country.

According to the forecast of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) latest report, sales of EVs increasing from a record 1.1 million worldwide in 2017 to 30 million in 2030 as they become cheaper to make than internal combustion engine cars. While we are optimistic on EV demand over the coming years, we see two important hurdles emerging: a risk of cobalt shortages in the early 2020s that could slow down the rapid battery cost declines seen recently, and the challenge of charging infrastructure.

By 2030, India has set a target to convert over 30-40% of its vehicles to Electrical Vehicles (EV’s). Due to high population in the country, the accessibility of the charging stations becomes a challenge. Government needs to ensure that these stations are easily available to the people. For setting up E-Vehicles charging stations, the government support and proper execution of various preferential policies are important. Also, incentives with green policies are required. Long queues and large waiting period can hinder in the developmental growth.

Therefore, charging infrastructures need to have the ability to charge quickly and instant charging stations are the need of the hour, to avoid difficulties while waiting in long queues. Established power companies like ABB, Delta Electronics can also collaborate with the government to provide the necessary equipment and infrastructure to setup charging stations which in turn will be a win-win situation for both.

EV batteries market of $300-billion by 2030 is foreseen by Niti Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute in India. According to their report, battery accounts roughly a third of the total purchase price of EVs today after 70% drop in battery price over the last six years. The technology that the government wants to adopt is in a developmental stage. Due to this, some states are gradually supporting the plan and embarking on the process.

Though the BNEF future outlook shows optimistic approach for EV markets across the globe, but it also highlighted the current challenges that the industry needs to be dealt with. It highlighted that charging infrastructure remains a barrier in many countries and supply of raw materials like cobalt could create some bumps in the road to cheaper batteries.

Therefore, there is a need to build a network of sufficient & efficient electric vehicle charging facilities in India to make it easier for the people to adopt to EVs easily and be future ready.

The government has proposed a grant of Rs 1,050 crore for 4,200 public charging points in populated cities and major highways, besides concessional land and local authority support. India aims to shift 30-40% of its fleet to electric mode by 2030.

One of the major drawbacks that the project faces is the insufficient availability of finance. Dividing the revenue between various organizations govt. bodies, venture capitalist, financial institutions can prove to be effective as cost sharing will help in reducing the burden on one party single handed.

Different public and private bodies like metro stations, shopping malls, commercial complexes, apartments and residential blocks should set electric charging stations in their parking lots so that it could minimize the growing public gatherings at a particular point in the premises.

The government should make policies and Guidelines that will help domestic manufacturers to improve relations with other countries & also the plan is expected to provide a fillip to the renewable energy segment, with India redefining itself as a technological hub for innovation in clean energy.>

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