For the reduction in carbon emissions, India has made a global commitment to move away from coal and get 40% of its electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030, compared to 11% now. Following that path, the Government is working on formulating a policy for auto companies to engage in solar car manufacturing in the country. There are reports saying that they are also considering giving tax concessions, subsidy, low-cost power, cheap credit, and land lease at discounted rates to auto companies to set up their plants locally. The use and awareness of renewable energy systems are strongly recommended for the economic progression of developing countries like India. And The integration of solar energy with Electric Vehicles(EVs) is a clever option.
Why solar-powered EVs are a good alternative?
India's tropical nature provides a unique possibility to utilize solar power for sustainability, which is also the major focus of the country for an unconventional alternative. Solar-powered EVs can provide a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Today, most of India's primary source of power is coal, which majorly contributes to both pollution and climate change. India is the world's fourth-largest carbon emitter with a population of 1.3 billion people and a rising number of cars and commercial vehicles.
Due to geography, India also has 300 clear sunny days, which can be utilized to produce solar power contributing to reducing carbon emission and also reducing the cost of operation. The auto industry in India has great potential to utilize sunlight and make a pollution-free environment.
The solar-power vehicle could prove to be greatly advantageous for the country as the shift to solar-powered EVs will be a practical solution to the dire shortage of natural fuels. The emissions through Solar-powered vehicles will be zero and it is a 100% environment-friendly choice. The maintenance cost will be the lowest in comparison to the IC engine vehicles, which need heavy maintenance work.
The other advantage of solar-powered vehicles is, it will be highly efficient for the places where there are no gas or power lines, conventionally.
Solar vehicles do have some disadvantages like a small speed range, and the initial cost is high. Also, the rate of conversion
of energy is not satisfactory (only 17%). The functionality of the batteries depends upon the weather conditions.
The added disadvantage of batteries is that they are highly expensive and that they must be replaced after a year and a half to two years. Including that, some toxic materials and hazardous products are used for the manufacturing of solar photovoltaic systems, which can indirectly affect the environment.
Given the high cost of Electric Vehicles, lack of infrastructure appears as a big challenge. And also the poor purchasing power of Indian customers adds as a drawback to run the solar-powered electric vehicles on the road. Solar energy contains relatively low energy density compared to gasoline, a difference caused in part because gasoline uses air for oxidation, while solar batteries must carry their own oxidizer, such as lead oxide, which adds weight to the batteries. Another major challenge for the solar industry is that batteries take too long to recharge.
The integration of solar and electric technology seems to be the best alternative for low-emissions transportation in the future like a solar car ( solar EV), which will not only protect the environment but also attractive and feasible. It seems to be an ambitious plan but if it functions, it will be a great accomplishment environmentally as well as economically. But for this to occur, the advancements of solar cells and batteries is the determining factor.