By Falgun Patel, Project Officer, Energy Transitions, The Climate Group
Electric transport offers a major solution in cutting down millions of tons of greenhouse gasses (GHG). In India, the shift to electric will also save cities from rampant pollution caused by diesel and petrol cars. However, many are still uncertain of the immediate advantages in transitioning to electric. As we enter a new decade of recovery and climate action, it is critical to take steps to make EVs the new normal in India.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first month of the nation’s lockdown, India witnessed major improvements in its air quality. The Air Quality Index (AQI) that has always kept citizens and government on their toes showed a 30% reduction in air pollution across India, and pollution-related health risks reduced by 52%. While this reduction in emissions gave citizens a glimpse of a world with clean air and blue skies (as a result of the lockdown), more permanent solutions are necessary to maintain clean air and improvements in energy consumption.
Business and Government Action
Globally, businesses own over half of all new registered vehicles on the road. The attention is now on companies to lead our shift to cleaner transport through their investment, and to influence their millions of staff and customers. Indian businesses have already shown their efforts in leading on technology as well as aggregating commercial demand for the electric vehicle (EV) market.
Companies like BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, Bounce, Shuttl, SBI and Wipro have joined the EV100 initiative, joining the ranks of 82 leading global businesses committed to a 100% electric mobility transition by 2030. Additionally, the REmobility project initiated by World Business Council for Sustainable Development has brought together over 40 companies and 120 experts from different segments of the EV ecosystem showcasing an annual mobility demand of eight billion kms a year.
The Government of India has made its ambition clear. They have begun strong policy adoption for EV penetration by introducing the FAME II incentive scheme. The scheme introduces tax benefits and relaxations on registrations on the purchase of EVs, with support from Indian State Governments – steering the sector in the right direction with powerful policy signals.
Breaking down the myths
While advocates of electric mobility are aware of the benefits that this transition entails, there exist prominent myths around every element of the EV Ecosystem in India, as well as newer myths that are creeping in.
The multifaceted realm of mobility is built upon many blocks such as charging infrastructure, technology, economics, policy and vehicle experience. To boost confidence and awareness around electric vehicles for every vehicle buyer, and enable them to make an informed purchase, it is essential to break down the prominent myths around them.
Through a series of write-ups by experts, The Climate Group, in partnership with Climate Trends, aims to bring forth these powerful stories of front-running Indian businesses who have already incorporated EVs in their day-to-day operations.
Awareness vs. myths
The series will tackle myths around each of the thematic areas of charging, technology, economics, policy, emissions and vehicle experience. Our expert authors from the industry hope to bring out strong examples and facts to bring awareness to the state of play of EVs in India. In doing so, we wish to bring forth the electric mobility solutions currently available in the Indian auto market, while demonstrating their reliability as well as practicality.
Making it happen
India, as well as many other countries around the world, would certainly benefit from deliberate and decisive action by governments, businesses and communities by placing equity, sustainability and decarbonization as core values of this revival plan.
The auto industry contributes to almost half of India’s manufacturing GDP. In its long-term vision towards a successful economic recovery, India must look to include electric mobility as a critical socio-economic element. Decisions taken today will set the strategic direction and preparedness of the economy against future crises for years to come.