India is moving ahead in adapting EV but the destination is still too far away.



Recently statement made by the union road and highways Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari in the parliament, where he said that the sales of electric vehicle will rise by 10 times by the end of the ongoing year that is 2022 which is an extremely encouraging sign. The minister said that between 2019-20 and 2020-21, the sale of two wheeler electric vehicles rose by 422% while the sale of four wheelers increased by 230% in the same time period, as of 2021, the number of electric vehicles registered in India are over three lakh 24,000, which are about 1.7% of all the vehicles registered in the country. In the coming years, India would have to exponentially increase its dependence on EVs, because as per the minister, if the current trend continues our import bill of crude oil will go extremely high right now, it is about eight lakh crore rupees and it will go on to touch 25 lakh crore rupees if our dependence on petrol and diesel automobiles keeps on increasing.


Thus, as a country together, we have to find alternative sources of energy. One of them can be using hydrogen, the minister said that hydrogen is a fuel of the future and thus we have to work towards it. Although there are some problems such as the high costs of battery, lack of skills or lack of initiatives taken, lack of infrastructure but efforts are still being made by the government to promote battery manufacturing and to go past these roadblocks as per the minister, but just to give you a brief idea about the present status of electric vehicle in India, are we actually closer to achieving our aim or not? Now, if you actually look at the EV sales in India for year 2020 you will see that globally about 80 lakh Ev vehicles were sold in 2020 that is about 2.6% of the global vehicle sales. India is one of those nations where the people are fast embracing the EVS for example, you see a lot of people opting for electric cars such as start on Exxo, India is one of those nations that have supported the global Ev30×30 campaign, which means that we are trying to ensure that at least 30% of the new vehicle sales is of electric vehicles by the year 2030. So to jump from 1.7% to 30% will require a lot of effort from the side of the Indian government and the Indian people.


Now the challenges are number one, the problem of battery manufacturing. See the electric vehicles are mainly dependent on the power and the performance of the battery that decides the life and the quality of electric vehicle. The problem is that these batteries cost a huge amount of money and this requires a lot of investment and technology from the side of the government because private sector might not be willing to invest that much money. As per the government, India imported more than $1 billion worth of lithium ion cells in 2021. Even though there is not a lot of penetration of electric vehicles in the country, the amount of money that we are still spending on the components is a worrying sign. Then there are consumer related issues. For example, there are lack of charging stations, you still see electric charging stations only in tier one cities in India right now, let's say Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and some very well known highways, but you don't really see a lot of these charging stations in tier two or tier three cities.


Even if there are charging stations, it is not like a petrol or diesel vehicle. For example, you're going on a highway and you notice that you're out of petrol, you can just stop at a petrol pump and get your tank filled. But if you see your battery's out of charge, even if you see a charging station, and you connected, you will still have to spend a lot of time for your battery to go up to an appropriate level to continue the journey. So it's not an instant refill kind of thing, you would have to wait there and make sure that your battery is charging at the same time, that again remains an issue. For example, for a slow charger, it can take up to 12 hours to fully charged the battery at the owners house, which is still a problem that we have not been able to counter. There's also a lack of technology and skilled labour. So for example, if a car breaks down, you know that there's a mechanic on the road and he or she would most probably be able to find the fault. But when it's an electric vehicle with a lot of shapes and semiconductors and new technology, you don't know if the same roadside mechanic or technician would be able to find the fault in your car and would be able to rectify that, then the charging infrastructure is still a concern. Although the ministry of power has prescribed at least one charging station to be present in a grid of three kilometre and every 25 kilometres on both sides of the highways, but at a scale to be implemented.


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs as per the model building bylaws of 2016 mandated at least 20% of the parking space in the society should be for EV charging facilities. But even then, even when you go to the most well known residential complexes or societies, there are no charging station or charging facility is given for EVs right now even in tier one cities.

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