EV in India: Today there isn’t a soul who is oblivious to the devastation and risks induced by climate change, pollution and global warming; A major challenge rendering the developing nations more susceptible as compared to the developed economies.
The road freight sector accounts for around 9% of global CO₂ emissions, compared to 2% in aviation. And around 60% of the road freight sector’s CO₂ emissions come from medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which traditionally have diesel powertrains that allow them to carry heavy loads. They are both the biggest emitters and the vehicles that travel the longest distances, creating a perfect storm of environmental harm. To meet Paris Agreement targets, absolute emissions from road freight will need to decline by almost 60% by 2050 and around 30% before 2030.
The industry is not currently on track to meet those goals. Beyond road freight, there’s also the need for purpose-built vehicles such as garbage trucks, tractors on a farm, work vehicles on a mine, buses, cold storage vehicles that transport produce and medical supplies, and more, to transition to electric for businesses to adhere to state mandates and realize sustainable transportation goals. Decarbonizing fleets and filling the roads with electric vehicles that can do tough jobs is, therefore, urgent. However, doing so is not without its challenges.
As far as India is concerned, the country’s capital, Delhi, ranks 4th in the 2023 World Air Quality Report. Furthermore, as a nation we stand amongst one of the top 10 most polluted countries of the world! The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is crucial on a global scale, especially in India, which holds the title of being the world’s third largest automobile market.
Also read: How India specific EV charging and integrated solutions are the key to success for green mobility in India
This shift to EVs plays a significant role in reducing air pollution and lessening our dependence on fossil fuels. As the name suggests, EVs operate on electricity, which can be sourced from cleaner and more environmentally friendly sources. This not only improves the quality of the air we breathe but also minimizes our impact on the environment. Furthermore, embracing EVs helps decrease our reliance on imported oil, thereby contributing to enhanced energy security and a more sustainable future.
Furthermore, the reduced dependence on imported oil not only enhances our energy security but also contributes to a more sustainable future. It is important to acknowledge the transformative impact of digitization on the Indian economy, as it plays a pivotal role in facilitating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in India, thereby ensuring a seamless shift.
The integration of digital technologies, such as apps, online platforms, and smart systems, can greatly enhance the overall experience of using electric vehicles (EVs). By utilizing digital platforms, individuals are able to effortlessly locate charging stations, receive real-time updates on battery levels, and conveniently make online payments. This streamlined approach simplifies the process and promotes the widespread adoption and usage of electric vehicles, contributing to a greener and more sustainable transportation system.
In recent years, the Indian auto industry has experienced consistent growth, primarily driven by the demand for small and affordable cars. This trend has also seen a surge in the popularity of SUVs and a growing interest in electric vehicles.
Despite its achievements, the industry faces several challenges. Manufacturers must navigate economic fluctuations, rising fuel costs, and changing consumer preferences. Moreover, they must adapt to regulatory changes, more stringent emission standards, and the integration of safety features, which adds complexity to their operations. These challenges have been further intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused disruptions in production, sales, and supply chains.
And yet the rising significance of environmental concerns has led to a growing emphasis on sustainable alternatives. This trend is clearly visible in the surging popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), which are being backed by government initiatives and a heightened awareness of environmental issues. Consequently, automakers are channeling their investments into the advancement of EV models and the enhancement of charging infrastructure, all aimed at promoting sustainable mobility.
The significance of transition to EVs in India
The transition to electric vehicles in India is of great significance due to two primary reasons. Firstly, EVs have the advantage of reducing air pollution and promoting cleaner cities as they operate on electricity rather than burning fossil fuels like conventional vehicles. This results in improved air quality and better overall health for urban dwellers.
Furthermore, the adoption of EVs allows us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports and enhance our energy security. By utilizing domestically generated electricity to power EVs, we can decrease the outflow of funds spent on importing oil and instead invest in our own renewable energy sources. This not only strengthens our economy but also provides long-term savings.
Digitalization’s Impact on Indian Auto Manufacturing
Digitalization in the Indian vehicle manufacturing industry improves efficiency by streamlining production processes, reducing the occurrence of manual errors, and enabling real-time monitoring. This technological advancement ensures a smoother operation and adherence to quality standards by constantly keeping track of the ongoing processes and making necessary adjustments as required.
Digital tools enable factories to optimize resource utilization and anticipate maintenance requirements, resulting in cost savings and improved affordability. Additionally, by harnessing digital data, factories can make more environmentally conscious decisions during car production, reducing waste and promoting eco-friendly practices for both traditional and electric vehicles in India.
Digital technologies play a crucial role in improving the efficiency and user experience of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs), transforming them into intelligent infrastructure. This smart infrastructure addresses the common concern of range anxiety among electric car owners by providing easy access to charging stations and assisting with route planning, thus reducing apprehension.
Additionally, these digital innovations make electric cars more accessible to a wider audience by simplifying the task of finding charging spots, ensuring that vehicles remain charged and ready for the road.
Data-Driven Decision Making in the Auto Sector
By analyzing patterns and user preferences, these technologies assist in designing EVs with desired features. They optimize manufacturing processes to ensure timely availability of the required components, reducing costs and expediting production.
In terms of supply chain management, data analytics and AI enhance forecasting capabilities, enabling the smooth transition to EVs by ensuring sufficient supply to meet the demand. These technologies, in a nutshell, aid in creating attractive EV designs, streamlining production, and effectively managing the entire production and supply chain process to ensure a steady supply of EVs.
Government Initiatives and Policy Framework
The installation of EV charging stations is being encouraged by the Indian government through initiatives such as the FAME India Programme Phase II and state-level measures. Some of the incentives announced include FAME-II, the PLI scheme, the Battery Switching Policy, the establishment of Special Electric Mobility Zones, and tax reductions on EVs.
- FAME-II: FAME stands for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles. FAME-II is a government program in India that provides financial support to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. It offers subsidies to both buyers and manufacturers of electric vehicles.
- PLI scheme: PLI stands for Production Linked Incentive. Under this scheme, the government provides incentives to manufacturers of electric vehicle components and batteries. This encourages the production of these components within the country, which helps in reducing the cost of electric vehicles.
- Battery Switching Policy: This policy aims to make electric vehicles more convenient by allowing users to easily swap their discharged batteries with fully charged ones at designated swapping stations. It helps to overcome the challenge of limited charging infrastructure and enables faster charging for EVs.
- Special Electric Mobility Zones: These are designated areas where the government promotes the adoption of electric vehicles. They provide the necessary infrastructure, such as EV charging stations, and offer incentives for businesses and individuals to switch to electric vehicles.
- Tax reductions on EVs: The government has reduced various taxes, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) and road tax, on electric vehicles. This makes electric vehicles more affordable for buyers and encourages their adoption.
Digitalisation of EV in India
In essence, digitalization and the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) bring forth exciting opportunities, but they also come with certain challenges. Two prominent challenges are cybersecurity risks and the need for skilled talent.
- Cybersecurity risks: As we transition to a digital world, the risk of cyber threats increases. With more devices and systems connected, there’s a higher potential for malicious attacks and data breaches. This poses a significant challenge for the security of digital infrastructure and EVs.
- Skilled talent: The digitalization of industries and the growth of EVs require a skilled workforce proficient in emerging technologies. But there’s often a shortage of talent with the necessary expertise in areas like cybersecurity, data analytics, and EV technology.
By GuruPrasad Sowle, Co-Founder and President, IIRF, USA