The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has announced that it has recommended four-pronged approach to the government for fast-tracking the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country.
The research organization considers that in order to encourage EVs in a country like India, an inclusive city-specific mobility plan is the need of the hour, while comprehensive shift towards private EVs may not be viable.
The move came after fresh bold proposal from the government think tank Niti Aayog for authorizing sale of only EVs by 2030, which expected to impose essential costs on users.
The New Delhi-based research institute recommended that, enhanced battery technology development, customer preferences assessment, building capacity, and linkage to air quality enhancement are needed in the shift to EVs.
Furthermore, TERI further backed that this approach should be put into place instantly, within a national framework, which will need to involve several Ministries, including the Ministry of Surface Transport, the Ministry of Heavy Industry, and the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, as well as the Niti Aayog.
Commenting on the development, TERI, Distinguished Fellow, Shri Prakash said, “TERI’s analysis suggests that the first step should be to shift buses, taxis, and two-wheelers to EVs, as well as short motorised trips to non-motorised transport. This is towards an overall aim to encourage use of public transport and reduce uptake of motorised private vehicles. This will help reduce pollution in cities, decrease growth in petroleum imports, lower consumer fuel costs, and cut carbon emissions and road congestion.”
The research think tank has emphasized the following characteristics that should be considered while articulating a policy roadmap for EVs:
i). Stakeholder involvement – A stakeholder consultation and participation process needs to be immediately initiated that takes into account the views of all those concerned – users, manufacturers, electricity and oil marketing companies. This will help prepare a well-planned EV transformation programme, which can be implemented through a market based approach. This will also help overcome problems of low customer acceptance and of manufacturer reluctance.
ii). Preparedness of infrastructure – A public electric charging infrastructure, as well as a marketing infrastructure to provide an alternate business model for providing batteries, are essential for acceptance of a shift to EVs. TERI’s analyses indicates that for many categories of EVs – buses, taxis, 2-wheelers – the cost of an EV version (without batteries) is less than that of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) version, and the lifetime cost of batteries and recharging is less than the lifetime cost of petrol or diesel. This suggests the need for a new business model decoupling the EV cost and the battery cost, as well as of pubic charging facilities to allay range anxiety amongst users.
iii). City specific mobility plans – 102 cities in the country that are not attaining air quality standards are currently preparing and implementing strategies for air quality enhancement: city-specific mobility plans, with a role for EVs, have to be incorporated in these strategies. Given that every city has a unique pattern of mobility, there is a need to focus on comprehensive plans customised to the need for each city, with specific focus on mass transit system, supported by non-motorised transport, such as bicycles. There is urgent need to create infrastructure that provides safety to users of non-motorised transport and pedestrians. TERI’s analysis shows that 60 per cent of trip lengths in Indian cities are of less than 5 km, and 80 per cent are of less than 10 km. If 50 per cent of two-wheeler and four-wheeler trips under the average distance of 5 km shift to cycling, this alone can bring significant environmental benefits and economic savings of Rs 1,435 billion.
iv). Accelerated development of battery technology – A robust battery technology within acceptable price is yet to be evolved, and requires impetus from the government to promote systematic research, development and application, with clear long term policy for technology adoption.
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