Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Electricity Management

Electric car energy usage and electricity management

The evolution of EV is a long stride towards sustainable living; we are just crossing the chasm for mass adoption. Govts across the globe have aligned their policymaking strategy towards sustainable living. The Bigger Challenge is not the adoption of EV but the infrastructure and energy required to make EV's a reliable daily commute. We need more accessible charging centers, more service stations, and more skilled resources.

"A survey done by IndiaSpend reported that about 87 per cent of Indians would buy an electric vehicle (EV), if that helped reduce air pollution."

The government of India was quick to take actions and aspired to have only electric vehicles on Indian roads. "I am going to do this, whether you like it or not. And I am not going to ask you. I will bulldoze it," said Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Transport Minister of India at an industry conference. He then shocked the automobile industry and the world, in 2017, when he announced that he had envisioned for India to move to 100% electric cars by 2030.

Although after several economic considerations, the new proposal is to have only electric three-wheelers operating in the country by 2023, and only electric two-wheelers by 2025. India currently wants to move to 30% electric cars by 2030.

These immediate or desperate actions have an intended purpose where India wants to become the global hub of manufacturing of electric vehicles.

Electric car

Progress & Problems

Electric vehicle models with new technologies are expanding in the market and are gradually being accepted among the customers. Recently, Hyundai launched its electric Kona car in India and Nissan, too, has announced to launch its Leaf model soon. Indian automobile giants, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors both are selling electric cars giving affordable electric cars to the value-conscious Indian consumers. New entrant Kia is also planning to launch electric cars in the Indian market.

Two-wheelers companies, mostly startups like Ather Energy and Ampere Vehicles, are launching their electric vehicles in the market while bike-sharing companies like Bounce and Vogo are also going electric. Government has also directed municipal corporations to introduce electric buses in several cities of India. India's capital, Delhi, is expected to have 1,000 electric buses running on its roads soon.

Even taxi-hailing apps and home delivery services have taken to delivering parcels and passengers on electric bikes. After a pilot run with electric cabs, Indian ride-hailing giant Ola is now focussing on electric bikes and three-wheelers via Ola Electric.

We can obviously see the progress in the adoption of electric vehicles in corporate sector but the government ambitious plan will not be achieved unless the government or the corporates invest in electricity charging infrastructure and battery technology for the wider adoption of these electric vehicles in the public.

Although there are many encouraging signs towards achieving this.

For one, charging stations are being built at petrol pumps, government offices, malls and even within neighbourhoods. Government-owned power companies such as Bharat Heavy Electricals and Energy Efficiency Services plan to begin rolling out charging stations soon. The latter is looking at 10,000 stations over the next two years.

Secondly, government is encouraging corporates and private players to invest in these ventures and also in improving battery technology by giving incentives and subsidies, and in some cases taxes too are relaxed.

The future of EVs and the progress towards it is quite positive but we are more concerned about the surge of energy demand when EV will be a norm. Let us now look at this.

Energy requirements for Electric vehicles

The energy requirement for EV

The narative of clean energy on using electric vehicles is quite vague in nature as the electricity used in these vehicles is mostly generated from fossil fuels and minimal from sustainable renewable energy resources.

There are worries that while fully battery-operated electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions on road, their life cycle emissions totally depends on the source of power generation. Currently, majority of power generation is done through termal power plants using coal and it being the dirtiest compared to hydro and solar energy. But life cycle emissions intensity of electric vehicles can reduce substantially with more renewable energy infusion as per India's post-2020 climate action plans. The energy source of electricity can change flexibly if investments in renewable sources of energy expands.

Thus progress towards this can help us achieve 'zero fuel used' promise in electric vehicles and move us towards a greener environment.

The Environment & Global Warming

Transportation, in current times, accounts for about 11 percent of India's carbon emissions and is a major source of air pollution in several cities nationwide. As many as 14 of the world’s top 20 most-polluted cities are in India, according to a 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report.

This is the reason why government and other institutions are moving ahead into electric mode of transportation faster than ever before. Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment estimates that if all the vehicles (except trucks) were to run on electricity by 2030, the electricity consumed will be about 110 Terawatt-hour or about 5 per cent of the total electricity demand of India in 2030 as projected by 2017 report of NITI Aayog.

So the question here arises again that how to power these vehicles and what kind of energy sources can be used to benefit the mankind without harming the environment.

In December 2019, in the Climate Risk Index 2020 released by the environment think tank, Germanwatch, India’s rank has worsened from the 14th spot in 2017 to 5th in 2018 in the global vulnerability ladder. This makes it all the more reason for India to make electric cars and vehicles a priority in the fight against the reliance on fossil fuels.

Future energy demands for Electric vehicle (EV)

The Future Energy Demand

No doubt that all the development in future is based on technology and energy. Be it smart cities, electric vehicles, smart homes, or different appliances, we are constantly and more frequently looking at such technological advancements that are helping society to move towards a more connected and safe world. With these advancements many earlier known problems are getting eradicated and giving everyone to lead life they always wanted. Moreover, the rise in income level and subsequent improvement in living standards has also increased the demand for energy.

Energy demand in developing countries like India is rising on yearly basis. Thus demand control and management is necessary to control the pollution done due to electricity generation. With rise in EV demand, rise in energy demand is likely to rise. Examining several studies on the impact of EVs, Redburn, a UK-based research company, expects average global electricity consumption from EVs to grow from around 8TWh in 2017 to 1,800TWh by 2040, where fossil fuels will remain the number one source of energy, having fallen just 5% since 1970 from 86% of energy supply to 81% in 2014. Thus we need to make sure how to effectively and efficiently use energy and use appliances and technologies that use less energy.

What needs to be done

Recently a report pointed out that economic growth is inversely proportional to the level of pollution in a particular country. But our future environment will not survive until then to witness the economic development if we keep on deteriorating our environment. The one thing that is totally negligible is that we need energy for development but we are not taking enough steps to conserve or use green energy. People are still not aware of energy expenses and its ill effects on the environment. Listed below are few steps that can be taken to control and manage the energy consumption and reduce our dependence on fossil fuel generated energy.

Wider adoption of renewable sources of energy should be encouraged and incentivised.

Energy conservation practices should be made mandatory for corporates as well as domestic households.

Energy-efficient technologies should be used to cut down the energy consumption.

Energy Management technologies should be installed in every building.

Until people are aware of energy management and take steps towards saving electricity whereever possible, only then the dream of having 100% electric cars on indian roads without harming environment is possible.

"Most Innovative Energy Saving Product" - 21st National Award for Excellence in Energy Management 2020 - Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

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