What is the future of transportation in India? With such a rapid growth in the population, natural resources like fuel is being used in billions of liters every year. In 2018 around 103 billion liters of diesel was consumed by our people for transportation. As the demand for gas keeps increasing every year the, the price of it has also been going up. To stop this from getting any worse, we need to commonize the use of electric vehicles in India.
How do they work?
Electric vehicles as the name states uses electricity instead of fuel to power their engines. These vehicles have huge lithium ion batteries that store charge and then use that charge to run the engine. These vehicles don't produce carbon monoxide or loud sounds like normal vehicles but most of them also don't produce that much power. They can be charged at home or at a public power charging stations. One full charge can give up to 200 km more or less depending on the vehicle. Companies like TATA have set up these EV charging stations across 17 cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata.
Types of electric vehicles
There are 3 types of electric vehicles.
- Plug-in Electric
- Plug-in Hybrid
The plug-in electric type vehicles are totally reliable on charge to function. These type of vehicles are not good for longer trips as they cannot be re-fueled like traditional vehicles. The plug-in Hybrid type are those that run on electricity but also have a fuel tank as a backup. These vehicles automatically switch to fuel if they run out of charge and they don't emit any radiation till they are running on their charge. The Hybrid-electric type mainly run on fuel and they cannot be charged separately. They are charged through regenerative breaking.
Electric vehicles around the World
Currently the top electric vehicles manufacturing companies are:
- Tesla - Founded by Elon Musk in 2003, Tesla is a company that uses clean energy to make it's products which include electric cars. Tesla is knows for its Model 3 which is the all time best selling electric car with almost 5 lakh cars delivered. they launched 5 electric vehicles namely Tesla model S, Model 3, Model X , Model Y and the tesla Cybertruck.
- Nissan Motors - Founded by Yoshisuke Aikawa, Masujiro Hashimoto, William Gorham and Rokuro Aoyama in the year 1933, the Japanese company has been successful in making traditional vehicles and in recent years have also started manufacturing electric vehicles with zero emission. It has won many awards like "Green car vision" award in 2010, "European car of the year" award in 2011.
- BAIC motors - Founded by Xu Heyi in the year 1958, the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding is the largest electric vehicle manufacturing company in China, with 60% of it's shares being owned by the Chinese Government. In terms of global sales, it stands in the second position after tesla for the year 2019. They have launched 7 electric vehicles pricing from $11,000 to $26,000 .
Electric vehicles in India
Companies like Hyundai, Tata, Hero etc. have launched both electric cars and bikes in India. Some of the known electric vehicles in India are
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Tata Nexon EV
- Hero electric Optima, Flash, Photon, Dash
- Mahindra E Verito
Tesla has not yet entered the Indian market but is preparing to do so. On the other had we have Ola about to build an electric vehicle plant worth ₹2,400 crores in Tamil Nadu . This should certainly help to boost and promote the use of electric vehicles in India. But are we ready to totally replace traditional vehicles with purely electric ones? I don't think so, because more than half of electricity in India is being produced by thermal power plants that use coal and natural gas. So we wouldn't really be decreasing the fuel consumption.
Another reason why we don't find electric vehicles common is because they cost a little more than normal vehicles. The lithium ion batteries are not cheap yet because they are made with materials like cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese that need to be mined and be converted into chemical compound.
In the end we could say that India is not yet ready for all electric vehicles. Although hybrids could be beneficial up to some extend but unless we change the means of generating electricity and switch to more clean energy sources like solar, wind, or hydro, there would be no actual benefit of driving an electric vehicle. Personally I believe that hybrid vehicles would be a better option than totally shifting to electric for now because it would easily take almost another half a decade these vehicles to get common and having a backup fuel tank sounds like a good idea if we ever forget to charge our vehicle.