Societal change, technology and business model innovation are what will fuel electric vehicle driving in India
Technological developments have undergone a paradigm shift and have played a key role in the tremendous interest in electric vehicles in India. Government pressure through various initiatives, falling operating costs and soaring fossil fuel prices have also contributed to the increase in demand. However, start-up issues are widespread – range anxiety, the high initial price of electric vehicles, buy-in prices and a series of reported incidents involving electric two-wheelers. Then there are infrastructure constraints such as battery generation capabilities, storage facilities, charging infrastructure and a network that is not yet responsive, all of which can be potential barriers to mass adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in India.
The government plans to replace 30% of its fleet of four-wheeled vehicles with electric vehicles by 2030, a step towards reducing carbon emissions. To achieve this goal, the country should focus on creating an efficient, safe and sustainable framework and ecosystem for electric mobility in India.
Developing a safe ecosystem for electric vehicles
We are at an inflection point in the EV adoption curve. The direction of inflection depends on how we approach safety, reliability and performance by implementing standards throughout the value chain.
An environment where temperatures on the earth’s surface reach 50°C in summer, lanes become waterlogged during monsoons, dust and vibrations are prevalent. Any technological indigenization will ensure seamless operations in the realities of India.
In addition to developing a governing body to establish and implement qualifications throughout the development phase, there are breakthroughs in this burgeoning industry for manufacturing oversight. For example, a closer link to meeting manufacturing standards while paying PLIs (for battery manufacturing, recycling and electric vehicles) to companies. The workforce also needs to be retrained to think differently about safety standards.
Electrical equipment typically undergoes thousands of hours of rigorous testing before commercial use. In some cases, they are recorded in operation for several months and seasons to take care of the real physical conditions, because the impact of a failure is significant. The same goes for electric vehicles, lives are at stake.
The next step is to establish trust through ownership. Electric mobility as a service is a model that not only helps overcome the upfront costs of electric vehicles, but can also focus responsibility for maintaining standards. Under the FAME II program, the government plans to promote eBus adoption by providing subsidies to these asset-light based models. Responsibility for ensuring quality can be added to the competence of these new business models.
As with all technologies, how they are deployed, used, and abused also influences the experience and outcome. Just as we cannot imagine replacing gasoline with diesel or vice versa in combustion engine vehicles, the end consumer has the responsibility to understand the requirements of their specific EV model, its charging mechanism, the charging and the impact of weather conditions on performance, where to charge the batteries, etc. Companies, manufacturers and new players also benefit from a sustainable market by highlighting the technological aspect of electric vehicles for value-conscious customers in our country.
A flexible and secure network for charging EVs
Any intermittency in providing users with clean and reliable on-demand power through charging infrastructure and the power grid will add to the hesitation in adoption. India affirmed support for cutting-edge technologies in grid-to-plug EV charging systems, alternative batteries, battery swapping, wireless charging, fast charging, range enhancement and battery life and fleet adoption. The apparent profusion led some users to delay purchasing decisions to see which technologies prevailed. We need to balance these expanded options with some standardization and interoperability to help build critical mass.
With a generation capacity of around 400 GW, India has enough power for electric vehicles to become mainstream in the immediate future. However, for electric vehicles to make their contribution to carbon neutrality, the country will need to meet and exceed its renewable energy targets and then mitigate intermittency. The widespread use of electric vehicles would increase the load on the national grid with large fluctuations in demand. We will need to invest today in grid modernization with flexible power technologies – at the national, state, and distribution levels – to ensure faster adoption of electric vehicles.
Drive to EV
India is electrifying its vehicles but is it enough to reach the 30% target by 2030? As the market for electric vehicles continues to grow, businesses and government must increase their support for the electrification of transportation. Driving pure electric vehicle innovation and technology is not enough. Stabilizing the current political environment, creating a more collaborative ecosystem, educating consumers about the technology used in the design of EV products, improving existing infrastructure and building a network Flexible, secure and sustainable electric power are all essential to driving EVs in India.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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