The increasing role of Electric Vehicles in India
The future of Indian mobility is clean and sustainable, with government and automobile companies progressing together to increase electric vehicle penetration. A recent report stated that by 2022, most of the consumer would consider buying an electric car. In India, two-thirds of the consumers prefer the “wait and see” approach to learn more about the electric vehicle and then decide. A similar scenario can be seen with fleet managers where over 40% are waiting for their competitors to switch towards clean vehicles before they take the final decision. Thus, the focus is more towards getting introduced to the technology’s ground reality, which will be resolved with increasing electric vehicles. The last fiscal year witnessed around a 20% increase in electric vehicle sales, indicating that the country is serious about switching to clean energy mobility. Further, as per the reports, Niti Ayog is planning to make it mandatory for major ride-sharing companies of India to have 40 percent of their fleets to be electric by 2026. Where the adoption of EVs for the consumer is still at a nascent stage, it is the commercial vehicles that are flagging the way for India’s electric revolution. According to studies, 100% adoption of electric ride hailing vehicle in the country by 2030 can reduce 12 million tons of carbon dioxide emission a year by avoiding consumption of 11 billion liters of fuel a year.
But to build a smooth road of glory to escalate faster adoption of clean energy vehicles, there are few speed-breakers the industry and government have to flatten. One such challenge is the range anxiety, which as per a report, 64 percent of India drivers consider to be a significant barrier while considering EV as the prime option.
Understanding the issue of Range Anxiety
India has the potential to be a major manufacturing hub for an electric vehicle in the next five years. To encourage the EV market, the government is playing a significant role by trying to extend the best possible concession to the EV industry. One such initiative is lowering the GST to 12 percent on the purchase of electric vehicles. Thus, with government push, the support of operating it at a lower cost, and the ability to reduce the environment’s impact, many customers and fleet operators are showcasing their interest in electric vehicles. However, despite the growing interest, a significant concern is regarding the issue range anxiety.
In India, it is a tradition to check the fuel meter before planning a drive, be it routine, long, or nearby work. Thus everyone wishes to be secure before igniting the engine and leave for a drive. This is what range anxiety is all about, the fear that the electric vehicle will not have enough charging to complete the desired kilometers. Although many believe it is a perception issue rather than fear since India got its first car with a 100 km range. But for many, it is a significant challenge that can influence the vehicle-buying decision of the customer. For two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and state busses, range anxiety is not a serious concern since they have an option to charger the vehicle at the depot. But for passenger vehicles and long route buses, especially inter-state traveling, it is essential to have an EV Charging station or option to charge the vehicle within the desired kilometers.
To resolve the issue of range anxiety, it is essential to have a robust EV charging infrastructure that can secure the EV owners regarding the charging issue and encourage new customers to explore the option of clean energy vehicles.
How India is progressing to build a robust EV charging infrastructure to resolve the issue of range anxiety
The government is going full throttle to make India an electric vehicle hub by 2030. Various policies and measures have been adopted to build a robust EV Charging infrastructure that can encourage more people to invest their trust in electric cars. The government is planning for 3-by-3 kilometers to have at least one public charging in every 3 kms by the next three years in urban areas. For highways, one fast-charging station has been planned in every 100 kms.
Further, the government is considering to set up at least one EV charging kiosk each in around 69,000 petrol pumps across the nation. In addition, the government has also proposed making it mandatory for company-owned & company-operated petrol pumps of state refiners to install EV charging kiosks. With regard to the new guidelines of the Oil Ministry, it has been stated that the new petrol pumps must have options for one of the alternative fuels.
Recently the government said that over 27,00 vehicles have been supported this year under the second phase of the FAME India scheme with demand incentive that has been amounting to Rs 95 crore. Further, under the Phase-II of the scheme, 5,595 E-buses have sanctioned the state/ city transport.
The aim is to encourage faster adoption of EV by offering incentives on the purchase of electric vehicles and establishing necessary EV infrastructure.
To give a push to clean mobility in the Road Transport Sector, the Department of Heavy Industries has sanctioned 2636 charging stations that includes 62 cities across 24 States/UTs under the FAME India scheme phase II. Under the scheme, 1,663 charging stations be fast-charging stations while the remaining 1,003 will be slow charging stations.
To build a robust EV charging infrastructure, the concern is not restricted to increasing the number of charging stations only but also to provide efficient energy supply to these stations and maintain the stability that can avoid load on the grid. Many experts believe that with evolving technology, solar energy utilization can play a vital role in charging electric vehicles where during the daytime, it can be charged at a lower price of renewable energy & additional energy will be directed to energy storage system devices to reduce the load on the grid.
Thus the objective is to have a partnership of renewable sources powering the EV charging infrastructure to provide clean energy to the cars that, too, in the desired reach of the EV owners.