Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle | 17 Mar 2022

For Prelims: Green Hydrogen, renewable energy, fossil fuels, Paris Agreement, FAME II scheme, PLI scheme, EV30@30 campaign.

For Mains: challenges associated and ways to increase the electric vehicles penetration in the Indian market.

Why in News?

Recently, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways launched the world's most advanced technology, Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Toyota Mirai.

What is the Significance of this Achievement?

  • Create Awareness about Green Hydrogen and FCEV Technology:
    • This is a first of its kind project in India which aims to create a Green Hydrogen based ecosystem in the country by creating awareness about the unique utility of Green Hydrogen and FCEV technology.
      • An MoU was also signed by Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd and the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) for a pilot project to evaluate the vehicle’s performance on Indian roads and climatic conditions.
        • ICAT is a leading world class automotive testing, certification and R&D service provider under the aegis of NATRiP (National Automotive Testing and R&d Infrastructure Project), Government of India.
  • Help India becoming Self-reliant' by 2047:
    • It will promote clean energy and environmental protection by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and thereby make India 'Energy Self-reliant' by 2047.
  • Best Zero Emission Solutions:
    • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), powered by Hydrogen is one of the best Zero Emission solutions. It is completely environment friendly with no tailpipe emissions other than water.
      • Tailpipe emissions: Emission of something such as gas or radiation into the atmosphere.
      • Green Hydrogen can be generated from renewable energy and abundantly available biomass.
      • Introduction and adoption of technology to tap into the Green hydrogen’s potential will play a key role in securing a clean and affordable energy future for India.

What is the State of Electric Vehicles in India?

  • About:
    • The push for Electric Vehicles (EVs) is driven by the global climate agenda established under the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions in order to limit global warming.
      • The global electric mobility revolution is today defined by the rapid growth in EVs uptake.
      • Falling battery costs and rising performance efficiencies are also fueling the demand for EVs globally.
  • Need for Electric Vehicles: India is in need of a transportation revolution.
    • The current trajectory of adding ever more cars running on expensive imported fuel and cluttering up already overcrowded cities suffering from infrastructure bottlenecks and intense air pollution is unfeasible.
    • The transition to electric mobility is a promising global strategy for decarbonising the transport sector.
    • EVs currently account for less than 3% of all vehicles sold in India. This is despite EV registrations crossing 50,000 units for the first time in December 2021, the highest ever monthly sale recorded.
    • Although 80% of the volume of EVs sold is occupied by low-cost and low-speed three-wheelers, overall EV sales have picked up pace due to the rise of next-gen two-wheeler companies.
    • As per the Accelerated e-Mobility Revolution for India’s Transportation (e-AMRIT) portal in India, only 7,96,000 EVs have been registered till December 2021, and just 1,800 public EV charging stations have been installed.
    • While there has been a growth of 133% in the sales of EV from FY 2015 to FY 2020, when compared to sales of conventional ICE vehicles, the numbers seem insignificant. In FY 2021-22, only 1.32% of the total vehicles sold in the country were electric.
  • Associated Challenges:
    • Consumer Related Issues: Lack of appropriate charging stations is a cause of concern, which is quite less than the neighbouring counterparts who already had over 5 million charging stations.
      • Lack of charging stations makes it unsuitable for the consumers in covering long range.
    • Policy Challenges: EV production is a capital intensive sector requiring long term planning to break even and profit realisation, uncertainty in government policies related to EV production discourages investment in the industry.
    • Lack of Technology and Skilled Labour: India is technologically deficient in the production of electronics that form the backbone of the EV industry, such as batteries, semiconductors, controllers, etc.
    • Unavailability of Materials for Domestic Production: Battery is the single most important component of EVs.
      • India does not have any known reserves of lithium and cobalt which are required for battery production.
      • Dependence on other countries for the import of lithium-ion batteries is an obstacle in becoming completely self-reliant in the battery manufacturing sector.
  • Related Initiatives:

Way Forward

  • The Indian market needs encouragement for indigenous technologies that are suited for India from both strategic and economic standpoint.
  • Breaking away the old norms and establishing a new consumer behaviour is always a challenge. Thus, a lot of sensitisation and education is needed, in order to bust several myths and promote EVs within the Indian market.
  • Subsidising manufacturing for an electric supplychain will certainly improve EV development in India.

Source: PIB