Sailing Through Rough Waters…

Sailing Through Rough Waters…

Sailing Through Rough Waters…

As a populous, tropical developing country, India faces a bigger challenge in coping with the consequences of Climate Change than most other countries. At the backdrop of ambitious government policies to support overall development of the nation; what does India’s Climate Change policy mean for the Electric Vehicle (EV) sector?

Climate Change is a global phenomenon but with local consequences. There are both external and domestic dimensions to India’s Climate Change policy which has been articulated through two key documents. 

One is the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) adopted on June 30, 2008. The other is India’s Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDC) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in October 2, 2015. 

A keynote speech delivered on September 8 during a seminar organised by a think tank, R.K. Singh, Union Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy, said: “Environment is something we are trustees of and have to leave behind a better environment for our children and great grand-children.” However, a recent report – titled the ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region,’ presented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), reveals that India has warmed up 0.7° C during 1901-2018. 

The 2010-2019 decade was the hottest with a mean temperature of 0.36° C higher than average. Heatwaves continued to increase with no signs of diminishing greenhouse gas emissions despite lower activity since the novel coronavirus pandemic. Prolonged exposure to heat is becoming detrimental to public health, especially the poor who are unable to afford support for coping with the heat. Assessment by the MoES shows that India may experience a 4.4° C rise by the end of this century. 

Also, through reports we realise that India is the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States. Replacing fuel combustion vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs) is one of the best alternatives in order to reduce CO2 emissions and fight climate change.  

In recent months, India has firmed up schemes to incentivise companies to build EVs and batteries locally to boost supply and complement a slew of federal and state benefits for EV buyers. The investigation and implementation of alternative technologies is essential for reducing these emissions, and both private companies and institutions play a crucial role in this task. 

Below are some of the benefits to EV technology: 

1. EVs are responsible for considerably lower emissions over their lifetime than conventional vehicles. 
2. In countries with coal-intensive electricity generation, the benefits of EVs are smaller and they can have similar lifetime emissions to the most efficient conventional vehicles – such as hybrid-electric models.
3. However, as countries de-carbonise electricity generation to meet their climate targets, driving emissions will fall for existing EVs and manufacturing emissions will fall for new EVs. 

The penetration of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India has been increasing, however we see that ownership is low for four-wheelers. To increase the uptake of EVs across all vehicle classes, the Government of India not only needs to iron out roadblocks such as high EV component costs, but also ensure that local manufacturing and infrastructure deployment happens in a sustainable manner. 

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