19 Aug 2019
GS Paper 3
NITI Aayog has suggested that 40% of personal vehicles and public transportation in the country should go completely electric by 2030. Discuss concerns and challenges in this context. (250 words)
- Write about the aim of introducing the EV mobility programme in the introduction.
- Mention the challenges and concerns associated with it.
- Conclude by suggesting the approach to implement the policy.
India’s Electric Vehicle (EV) mobility programme is in line with its strategy to reduce oil imports and carbon emissions. India’s commitment to address the issue of climate change necessitates the adoption of alternative methods for environmental sustainability. By electrifying all the two-wheelers in use, India can avoid about 15% of the total transportation emissions and about 30% of particulate matter, curbing air pollution.
However, there are certain concerns and challenges in achieving the target of 40% EVs by 2030.
- Overall carbon neutrality: As warned by International Energy Agency, there will be a net increase in carbon emissions due to electric vehicles as India is largely dependent on its coal fired power plants.
- Also concerns related to safe disposal of Lithium –ion battery is a concern. India would end up generating tones of e-waste without proper recycling strategy.
- Disruption of Automobile sector: Declining sales of two and four vehicles have caused a drastic fall in the growth of the automobile sector leading to job losses. Hence, such a radical shift requires planning and implementation in phased manner.
- Demand-Supply gap: Public transport in India is expected to double by 2030. This requires an enabling electronic vehicle ecosystem that encourages domestic manufacturing of batteries and vehicles.
- Charging infrastructure: Creating charging infrastructure at such a large scale is difficult to achieve in such a short period of time. Also, charging time of lithium ion batteries is long which could result in traffic congestion on roads.
- Availability of batteries: Absence of lithium-ion manufacturing units in India increases import dependence. Also, due to absence of rare earth mineral resources (lithium and cobalt), we will have to depend entirely on imports, particularly from China.
- Affordability: Market penetration of the electronic vehicle is expected to be low as compared to petrol vehicles, because of their high cost.
- Localization: Domestic companies are unable to avail the incentives and subsidies under FAME II, which requires companies to have products with more than 50% localization i.e. adapting a product or service specific to the local market.
Hence, a critical analysis and a step-by-step approach are required to implement the EV programme. The ecosystem for electric vehicles should be allowed to develop gradually and organically. From job losses to manufacturing and marketing challenges, all the factors should be considered by the policymakers. Alternative models should be pursued by investing in research and development primarily to make battery technology affordable and sustainable.