The Electric Era: Evolution of Electric Vehicles

Written by Sarthak Jain

Every day, millions of tons of carbon emissions are released in the air– both in India and the world - by Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) vehicles. This has become a contributing factor in the global climatic change. Millions of people and animals are losing their lives because of these.

But, as there is a solution to every problem, there is a solution to this problem too: Electric vehicles, or in other words EV’s. Electric vehicles operate on an electric motor instead of the conventional internal combustion engines which rely on fuels and gases. They are seen as the most viable replacement to our life-endangering ICE vehicles which cause global warming, rising pollution, and throat-cutting our mother Earth.

Electric vehicles have gathered much-awaited attention in the past decade because of rising carbon footprints and other environmental impacts of fuel-based vehicles. For the first time in the history of the automobile industry, ICE vehicles face a major challenge that could completely wipe them out. Electric vehicles are much safer, reliable, quiet, and light. And above all, it is a green technology that doesn’t make people feel guilty that they are harming our mother Earth. After so many benefits wouldn’t you buy an EV? Unfortunately, when you ask this question to an Indian, the answer would usually be NO.

“Air pollution is the new Tobacco,” said WHO head. According to a report in Bloomberg, India is home to 14 of the world’s most polluted cities. Two-thirds of the world’s most polluted area, unfortunately, in India.ICE vehicles can be blamed for the disastrous effect. The number of ICE vehicles on Indian roads is increasing in leaps and bounds. In 2013, India unveiled the ‘National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)’ to make electric vehicles a part of its huge automobile industry and to address vehicular emission. It included providing subsidies and infrastructure for Electric vehicles. But, sad to say, this policy remained only on paper.

The major problem with electric vehicles in India is their high prices. The average cost of a car in India is around $10,000. But, the average cost of an electric car is around $50,000— 5 times higher than that an Indian consumer would spend. In India, a car is a luxury rather than a necessity.

The government regulations and duties are very high which discourages a consumer to consider an EV. The electric infrastructure in India is also almost nil. Currently, there are only 150 charging stations in the world’s 7th largest country. These reasons backfire a rational consumer to even consider buying an electric vehicle.

Electrification has just started in India. The government has recently ordered around 10,000 vehicles. Many local governments are also taking various initiatives. Delhi government has launched its own Electric Vehicle Policy 2020 which aims to make Delhi a world leader in the field of electric vehicles. Tamil Nadu government also targets a 600 million investment to build its electric vehicle ecosystem But still there a lot that needs to be addressed. To make electric vehicles a part of the Indian roads, the government should provide heavy subsidies on e-vehicles especially two-wheelers. It should also reduce duties and promote foreign companies to invest in the Indian electric vehicle ecosystem. Exclusive models -keeping in mind the price-sensitive consumers in India- can also boost sales of EVs in India. Electric vehicles would also help India to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

The world has done a lot of progress in the Electric vehicle ecosystem during the last decade. Telsa, an electric-vehicle automobile company, has also become the world’s most valuable automaker. In Norway, Electric vehicles are breaking all the sales records. In the U.S, Automakers like Tesla and Faraday Future are working relentlessly to develop new technologies that would give Electric vehicles a competitive edge. Undoubtedly, the future of EVs seems bright. Electric vehicles could be the driving force to reduce the spread of the ‘new tobacco’.