How can India prepare for an electric vehicle revolution?

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The petroleum-based vehicle industry remains a dominant player in the automotive industry, but with growing concerns over fossil fuels and global warming, clean vehicles like electric vehicles are growing in popularity. The growth of electric vehicles is tied to the development of the battery technologies that power them. However, these batteries have a high market value due to their regulatory restrictions that prevent manufacturers from building large capacities at lower prices.

Governments, major organizations, startups and investors in India have all expressed their commitment to an electric mobility future over the past five years. By 2030, the Indian government wants 30% of passenger cars, 70% of commercial vehicles and 80% of two and three wheelers to be electric.

The electric vehicle industry is growing rapidly, but it faces several challenges. In order to reach its full potential, manufacturers will need to overcome the current lack of infrastructure for charging stations, supply chain issues, and many other operational issues that are currently holding back the growth of the industry. According to Vahan portal, the total number of registered EVs in India for all vehicle types stands at 9.13 lakhs in January 2022. Additionally, two-wheelers accounted for 49% of all EVs sold in 2021 -22, followed by three-wheelers, which accounted for around 45 percent.

Electric mobility is gaining traction in India due to its eco-friendly features and relatively lower total cost of ownership. As the industry rapidly moves towards the adoption of electric vehicles, companies such as Godrej Tooling are looking to develop tools and dies for new engines, battery boxes, and high-strength, low-weight sheet metal parts. . They are also adopting 3D printing and additive manufacturing to develop high-precision dies for components with complex geometries to meet higher functional standards.

Public charging stations are not available in most places and the charging process takes a long time. There is no standardization between car manufacturers, which leads to incompatibility between chargers and batteries. Additionally, due to their high cost, EV batteries are often reused multiple times instead of being recycled.

In terms of EV charging infrastructure, India is expected to have around 8,000 AC and DC fast chargers built across the country, as well as 6,000-7,000 home and office chargers. India could have done better, but it was a typical chicken-and-egg situation at the time. Due to high battery cost and lack of charging choices, infrastructure was not invested and automotive OEMs were not investing.

Preferential electricity pricing for electric vehicle charging has been introduced in several states. Depending on the state, these reduced charges range from Rs 5 to Rs 7. As a result, the cost of charging has come down significantly and more EV charging infrastructure has been installed. However, there is still a long way to go before EV charging infrastructure catches up to service station penetration (over 78,000), and other major concerns need to be addressed, including the role of charging companies. distribution of electricity (discoms), among others.

Electric vehicle batteries can both store and return energy to the grid. This is called vehicle-to-grid (V2G), and it happens when a vehicle starts storing energy and then sends it back to the grid.

We now need to prepare electricity distribution utilities, which will require deploying smart charging technologies, managing electric vehicle charging, and improving the electricity distribution network. For example, in many states, it is observed that to get a sanctioned load of 100kW, you will need to install an additional distribution transformer, which will cost Rs 10-11 lakh. Raising the CapEx by another Rs 10-12 lakh at a time when EV sales are still in their infancy renders the whole charging business unviable. This implies that utilities need to be smarter about how to prepare the grid’s EV by maximizing the power already available on the grid, which includes smart charging.

State-led electric vehicle charging regulations, incentives, and networks are crucial to the growth of electric vehicles in the country. A talent revolution is also needed. We will be able to encourage the greatest individuals in the country to be inspired by a new generation of technology, design and economic excellence by generating the right market opportunities. To make electric vehicles work best for greener cities and more scalable public transport and logistics, public-private collaboration is essential.

When it comes to integrating renewables into the grid, energy storage becomes critical. You cannot green your energy mix without storage. The importance of storage rises to the top of the priority list. Second, to address storage challenges, many discoms are experimenting with last-mile distributed renewable power generation sources. In India, residential societies can become EV-ready by following the “tariff-based formula” concepts and dividing the cost of an EV charger and grid upgrade among all residents. . Improving systemic efficiency is also necessary to become EV-ready, which would require the use of smart charging technology by these electric utilities.

The electric vehicle revolution offers a significant opportunity for nightclubs to build charging infrastructure. They also benefit from the fact that they already have access to the sites, which reduces the initial capital cost required. However, as power supplies such as EESL and others have demonstrated, charging station utilization rates are still relatively low. Last year, the utilization rate was around 8 to 10%. We need to aggregate demand in order to grow the ecosystem and get more from private companies to reach the threshold of 2.9 million EV chargers by 2030.

Electric vehicle charging has become a property and infrastructure game. This involves locating the chargers and installing them. The availability of real estate and electrical infrastructure is the current difficulty and a stumbling block that we are currently encountering. This slows down the construction of charging stations. It is a problem that affects not only India but the whole world. Apart from this, a transparent supply chain for EV components is also the need of the hour. However, we should be able to fix these issues in the years to come. The future must be electrified for India to ignite and lead the next mobility revolution.



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The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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