Electric Vehicles In India …. Just Around The Corner Are We Ready ???

We are not sure where it is coming from……..
But we can better see what it look like…….
……………. Alexander Stoklosa
I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.
….………………Albert Einstein

“Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it” said Ovid.  “We should move towards alternative fuel…… If you do not make electric cars yourself, we will force you to do it,” Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Speaking at the annual meeting of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers or SIAM literally created a flutter when he threatened the domestic automotive industry to start thinking about a future without the internal combustion engine.

Strange how much we have got to know before we know how little we know. Mr Gadkari warned. “You may not like it, but I wish that your growth of internal combustion engine should be less. If this growth continues, I will have to add one more lane to national highways, which will cost a whopping Rs. 80,000 crore. Gadkari literally threatened.

If you can imagine it, you can become it. If you can dream of it, you can achieve it. “Only electric car by 2030,” cautioned Mr Piyush Goyal, The Union Power Minster to a group of Reporters at a FICCI event. “…existing cars may take a little longer to replace, yet, the idea is that not a single new petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country. The government is all set to aid the electric industry in the initial 2-3 years to ease the transition from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles before the industry stabilises. Goyal also spoke about the government’s plan to introduce electric vehicles (EV) in India on a massive scale within the next 3 years. The government will be building charging infrastructure and battery swapping programmes to achieve this goal.

The major objective behind this is to lower the fuel import bill and running cost of vehicles in the country.  Ministry of Heavy Industries and the NITI Aayog are working on a policy for promotion of electric vehicles. Pointing towards the cost factor, Goyal said that people would like to buy an electric vehicle when they find it cost effective. Currently, we also have the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles a.k.a. the FAME initiative in India, under which the government offers subsidies on hybrid and electric vehicles.

But a big why????? Why the transformation at all?

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pas this way again.…………. Stephen Grellet

Paris Climate Conference held in December 2015 launched the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change and Call to Action which was duly endorsed by Tesla Motors, Michelin Nissan-Renault, UNEP, the IEA and multiple key initiatives, builds on commitments from companies, cities, States and associations including hundreds of partners that have undertaken decisive efforts towards sustainable transport electrification. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), at least 20% of all road vehicles (cars, 2 and 3 wheelers, trucks, buses and others) must be electric-powered by 2030 in conjunction with the low-carbon production of electricity and hydrogen. A signatory to the Paris climate agreement, India is obligated to bring down its share of global emissions by 2030.

Many of our Indian cities are among the worlds most polluted; suffering utter degradation over the years, and vehicular pollution is one of the major causes for this. Of the circa 200 million vehicles which currently ply India’s roads, less than one percent is electric. And this internal combustion engine-powered fleet is growing rapidly, currently at awhopping  rate of nearly 50,000 new motor vehicle registrations per day — which includes commercial vehicles, the ubiquitous three-wheelers or auto rickshaws, buses and taxis, as well as private scooters and cars. Besides, India is likely to spend up to $85 billion in financial year 2018 on oil imports which would constitute 82% of its oil requirements. And the automobile sector forms a bulk of this demand.

In line with its commitment to Paris Agreement the Government of India  unveiled ‘National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 in 2013 to address the issues of National energy security, vehicular pollution and growth of domestic manufacturing capabilities and plans to make a major shift to electric vehicles by 2030. In May 2017, Government think tank National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Ayog and Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute released a report that recommended a push to electric vehicles or EVs, with fiscal incentives and discouraging petrol and diesel vehicles. The cornerstone of the government’s plans is a commitment to make India’s electric vehicle mission 2030 a success. This is a very ambitious undertaking. “The level of growth means India’s plan to only sell electric cars by 2030, would require nearly eight times the global stock of such vehicles,” according to blogger Elizabeth Mathew, writing on Plug-in India; an excellent and enthusiastic proponent of India’s push for electric vehicles (EVs). There is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards. Government aims to provide fiscal and monetary incentives to kick start this nascent technology. With the support from the Government, the cumulative sale is expected to reach 15-16 Million by 2020. It is expected to save 9500 Million Litres of crude oil equivalent to Rs. 62000 Cr. savings.

The sudden urgency within the government… whose policies (at least the tax rates) actively discourage the development of a robust EV market….. has set the cat among the pigeons in the Industry. India has been a laggard in alternative fuel technologies, for reasons ranging from lack of any plan incentive and infrastructure. Talk of a ban on conventional vehicles, without any effort to develop alternatives and bring down barriers to the development of hybrids and EVs, is making manufacturers nervous. But to move ahead to achieve its vision of only electric cars by 2030, the Government requires an overhaul of policies, tax rates, infrastructure and last but not the least, the mindset. For, the world of automobiles is changing faster than we can imagine.

Electric Vehicles:Pros :

  1. The biggest benefit of electric cars is obvious: you no longer need petrol, diesel or gas. Their efficiency means that they cost little to operate as is evidently clear from the following comparison between three different fuel types keeping total expenditure constant Considering the total cost of transportation as constant i.e. Rs. 5000, the table below shows the range can be achieved by all the three types of vehicles. Unit cost of petrol, diesel and electricity is assumed as Rs. 75/ltr, Rs. 60/ltr and Rs. 5.75/kwh. For EV, Nissan Leaf specification is referred, (121 km/24 kWh) with total discharge up to 20%. For ICE vehicles the mileage is taken as 20 kmpl for both petrol and diesel.
Fuel/Data Petrol Diesel Electricity
Cost/Litre Rs. 75 Rs. 60 Rs. 5.75
Consumption 67 Ltr 83 Ltr 870 kWh
Range / Month 1333 Km 1667 Km 3263 Km
Range / Day 44 Km 56 Km 121 Km
Range / Year 16000 Km 20000 Km 43478 Km
  1. With Rs. 5000, 67 litters of petrol, 93 litters of diesel and 870 kWh of electricity can be consumed. From that the maximum range per year can be calculated. Considering diesel range i.e. 20000 km/year as reference, petrol doesn’t even reach that range and the clear winner is electric with an excess range of 23247 km/year, which is equivalent to a saving of Rs. 32700/year. The excess investment in buying an electric car can be easily recovered within couple of years of fuel saving. Otherwise the cost of environment is now more of concern then the cost of fuel.

 

  1. Electric cars are 100 percent eco-friendly. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) don’t produce any tailpipe emissions, which are known to be a serious threat to human and environmental health. In comparison, the average gasoline car produces over 350 grams of CO2 per mile.

 

  1. Electric vehicles come with fewer maintenance requirements, and therefore the maintenance costs are lower as well. The electric motor has one moving part, the shaft, which is very reliable and requires little or no maintenance. The controller and charger are electronic devices with no moving parts, and they require little or no maintenance.

 

  1. Since an EV is fully electric, it no longer uses oil to lubricate the engine. That means oil changes are a thing of the past. The same is true for a lot of other expensive engine work that could afflict a gas-powered car. Brakes won’t wear as quickly, either, so you won’t need to replace pads as often as you do on a normal car.

 

  1. You Can Charge at Home or at Work : One advantage of electric vehicles is the ability to charge them at home or at a parking lot. People who live in family houses can simply plug in their vehicles after they return home from work, and leave the next morning with batteries fully charged.

 

  1. Currently, the fastest method of charging electric vehicles is known as DC Fast Charging. With it, most electric vehicles reach about 80% of charge in 30 minutes. EV owners can also pair home charging stations with solar panels, achieving true zero-carbon driving. But even without a home charging station, it’s becoming easier than ever to charge an EV at a public station.

 

  1. The electricity for EVs can be generated using zero-emissions technologies, such as solar PV, wind, hydro, or nuclear power, saving lives and reducing climate change impacts.

 

  1. No Engine Noise : Noise pollution is detrimental to human health, and the engines of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles are among its most significant sources. Tens of millions of people suffer from a range of adverse health outcomes including heart disease and hearing loss due to noise exposure including traffic noise. At 65 mph, the average interior noise of a car with an internal combustion engine is around 70 dB.  Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are almost whisper-quiet.

 

  1. Most recent speed records have been achieved by electric vehicles. For example, the Tesla Model S P100D hit 60 mph in 2.28 seconds, making it the first production car to reach 60 mph in less than 2.3 seconds. That’s because electric vehicles offer superior power-to-weight-ratios compared to traditional cars.

 

  1. In most modern electric vehicles, heavy battery packs sit below the passengers—making them easier to steer. The main duty of any responsible fleet manager is to protect drivers’ safety. Needless to say those drivers themselves want to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of passengers and the public.

 

  1. It is virtually impossible for a battery powered car to explode on impact, and because heavy battery packs significantly lower an EV’s centre of mass, the car is less likely to rollover.

Given these advantages why don’t most car sales today consist of EVs??? The cons :

  1. The main disadvantages of electric car ownership concern range anxiety: the fear you’ll run out of juice when you’re nowhere near a charging station. At the moment, the biggest perceived negative of battery electric cars is their limited range, which leads to what is known as range anxiety. To give an example, the 2016 Nissan Leaf can travel up to 107 miles on a single charge. The thought of only being able to drive 100 miles on a charge worries a lot of potential customers, who think that the somewhat limited range of electric vehicles isn’t enough to meet their needs. However, a number of vehicles have recently/are set to make their debut with significantly higher ranges:
  • Tesla Model S & Model X (250+ miles)
  • Tesla Model 3 (215 miles)
  • Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles)
  • 2018 Nissan Leaf (200+ miles anticipated)
  1. Not all regions and places have abundant EV charging infrastructure and majority of people have apprehension that they shall be facing difficulty charging their vehicles at home or even on roads and highways. Many owners and drivers will have to install a charging station at home. It’s not necessary, however, as you can simply charge your EV at work or at various public charging stations. But most shoppers will want a charging station at home, cutting into the cost saving from owning an EV in the first place. Exactly, the lack of success of Reva and the iconic stature of tesla can be attributed as much to the products as the inherent pain points of an electric car – cost, range and charging.

 

  1. Higher initial cost is also one of the reasons : Electric vehicles usually cost are upfront than their petrol/diesel/gasoline versions. The only electric car in India today, Mahindra e20, the modern avatar of Reva, comes of an ex-showroom price of Rs.7.46 lakh in Delhi inclusive of incentives. A comparable petrol car (Wagon RT) costs 40 per cent less at Rs.4.5 lakh.

 

  1. Battery replacement : Depending on the type and usage of battery, batteries of almost all electric cars are required to be replaced every 3-10 years and replacement battery packs can be costly.

 

  1. Incidentally, EV ownership does not eliminate fuel costs entirely. Electricity is not free and charging during peak hours can add to your utility bills. Similarly, Electric Cars are not suitable for cities facing shortage of Power as consumption of more power would hamper daily power needs of the common citizenry.

Globally How are the Motor Car Manufacturers Responding to Electric Motors??????

In 1998 much before Elon Musk and Tesla Motors made EVs cool, India’s Chetan Maini’s Reva Car Company a joint venture between the Maini Group of Bangalore and American Electric Vehicle Technologies (AEVT Inc.) of the USA were the first one to get off the block in 1994. REVA, an acronym for “Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Alternative” the first all-electric car in the world was launched three years later when the global industry was still experimenting with middle of the road hybrids. The Company started selling  REVA cars in India since 2001 at a cost of Rs. 2,50,000 per unit. By March 2011 more than 4,000 different versions of  REVA car were sold worldwide particularly in Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Malta, Monaco, Nepal, Norfolk Islands, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, and Sri Lanka.  REVA was exempt from most European crash test rules, because of its low weight and power registers it in the European “heavy quadricycle” category instead of the “car” category.

In May 2010, India’s largest sports utility vehicles and tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra bought a 55.2% controlling stake in Reva renaming the Company “Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited” subsequently again rebranding it as “Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd”. The Mahindra e2o, previously REVA NXR, is an urban electric car hatchback manufactured by the Mahindra Group. The e2o is the REVA G-Wiz successor and was developed using REVA’s technology and was launched in India in March 2013 at a price of Rs 596,000 (US $ 11,000) after a 29% government subsidy granted by the state of Delhi. Since then, except for 2016 when the segment saw 36% growth to 22,000 units, including four-and two-wheelers, the EV industry has been subdued.

The credit for making electric cars hip and happening the world over goes largely to Elon Musk of Tesla. By taking the top-down approach – launching a series of high performance sports cars, premium sedans and crossovers before venturing into the mass market segment recently – it debunked the notion that EVs ought to be utilitarian. As the world’s largest pure EV maker (Tesla sold 76,233 units in 2016, accounting for over 15 per cent of pure EV sales), strong demand for its cars had a rub off effect on the industry.   It’s latest launch, the Model 3, also its cheapest offering till date at a starting price of $35,000 (Rs. 22.75 lakh), got pre-launch orders of nearly half a million. The waiting period stretches over months, but that has not deterred customers from queuing up. Musk says the demand for the sedan could top 700,000 units.

In USA rapid cost declines, rising commitment from major automakers, strong support from state and local governments and low operational costs (including discounted charging tariffs from utilities) have put electric vehicles (EVs) on trace to pass gasoline-powered vehicles. Indeed U.S. EV sales have grown an average of 32% annually from 2012-2016 and 45% for the year ending June 2017.

There is a powerful reason that automakers worldwide are speeding up their efforts to develop electric vehicles — and that reason is China. China is, of course, the biggest market accounting for half of all EV sold worldwise. Propelled by vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies, China has become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars. That is forcing automakers from Detroit to Yokohama and Seoul to Stuttgart to pick up the pace of transformation or risk being left behind in the world’s largest car market.

Beijing has already called for one out of every five cars sold in China to run on alternative fuel by 2025. Government of China regulations now require the world’s carmakers to sell more alternative-energy cars if they wanted to continue selling regular ones. China is already the world’s largest maker and seller of electric cars. Chinese buyers are on track to snap up almost 300,000 of Electric Vehicles this year, three times the number expected to be sold in the United States and more than the rest of the world combined.

China buys more General Motors-branded cars than Americans do. Even for Tesla, the still-small American maker of luxury electric sedans, China has become the second-largest market, even though China’s taxes on imported cars are 10 times as high as those in the United States. Tesla officials said they are considering opening a factory in China. A week ago, General Motors and Ford unveiled plans to add a combined 33 electric models to their line-ups. Global manufacturers like General Motors and Volkswagen are also moving much of their research, development and production of electric cars to China. China in turn is pressuring them to share that technology with their Chinese partners.

Tesla is not alone. The traditional players are also fast shrugging off their inertia. Toyota is working on a car that can be charged in minutes and will offer far greater range than its vehicles today.   Franco-Japanese alliance Renault Nissan decided long back to put all its egg in the EV basket. Nissan’s leaf is the all-time bestselling electric car with sales of 300,000 in seven years.

Volkswagen said it will launch 80 new electric cars by 2025 and by 2030 all its cars will have at least one electric version. Honda recently showcased an urban EV concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show and promised to launch it in Europe by 2019.

The development of technology is still largely non-linear and skewed towards countries that offer more support to the industry. In Norway, nearly, one in every four cars sold is an EV. Hyundai already has a mass market electric car, Ioniq and is developing its first dedicated EV platform. It plans to launch eight battery powered and two fuel cell vehicles. Swedish luxury car maker Volvo, now owned by Geely of China, has said that from 2019 it will launch only electric / hybrid cars.  According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the number of pure battery EV models will shot up from 96 today to 150 by 2020. Add plug-in hybrids, and the tally rises to 246.

Electric Batteries:

Better batteries and super-fast charging is an essential ingredient to an Electric Car. A lithium-ion battery, the heart of an electric car, can account for 40-60 per cent cost of the vehicle. Their prices have fallen sharply in the past few years. In 2010, the price of lithium-ion battery was around @1,000 kilowatt hour or kWh, which meant a standard 30-35 kWh batter pack cost @ $ 35,000 (Rs.22.75 lakh). Early in 2016, Tesla said that its batteries were now costing $ 190 kWh and that it was aiming for a further 30 per cent reduction. The trend would have make EV more variable. And the launch of more vehicles and risk in demand would lead to a further drop. According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report, the cost of a battery cell and the pack is expected to decline by 75 per cent by 2030.

The global production of Li-Ion batteries stands at over 100 GWh today and is expected to climb to 273 GWh by 2021, according to data from Bloomberg. Electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla has the biggest factory that will produce 35 GWh annually when its so-called Gigafactory is fully built out in 2018 in Nevada, US. Most of the remaining capacity is coming up in China, with India not even a blip on the global batteries production map in most projections.

“The best of men are but men at their best”, said Major General John Lambert, one of Cromwell’s lieutenants. The Global EV Outlook (GEO) finds that global EV sale has increased more than double between 2011 and 2012, exceeding the 100,000 sales milestones. Together EVI countries have deployed about 47,000 slow and 1,900 fast non-residential charging points till 2012, and their governments have spent approximately USD 800 million on infrastructure deployment since 2008. These efforts are beginning to pay off, with battery development costs dropping from $1,000/kWh in 2008 to $485/kWh in 2012. The most successful EV region is the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan with 2,183 EVs. The second most successful EV city is Los Angeles. Rotterdam is the most successful electric car city in Europe, with 1,100 EVs on road. Dutch city is the electric car hub with 532 EVs per every 100,000 registered vehicles. In China, the State Grid Corporation of China plans to install 100,000 charging stations along 11 major routes by 2020, covering 202 cities and 36,000 km of expressway.

Globally How are the Governments Responding to demands of Electric Motors??????

Norway :

  • Electric Cars are exempt from acquisition tax which is around $11,600.
  • Battery Electric vehicles (BEVs) exempt from the 25% value-added tax on cars

 

China

  • Exemption from acquisition and excise ranges between $5,000 – 8,500. Local and complement within the limit of 50% central subsidies.
  • Large cities allow total or partial waiver from licence plate availability restrictions.
  • These factors, which make electric cars accessible, explain strong sales volumes (3,36,000 cars) and 40% growth in 2016
  • The State Grid Corporation of China plans to install 100,000 charging stations along 11 major routes by 2020, covering 202 cities and 36,000 km of expressway.

 

USA :

  • The Energy improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 grant tax credits for new qualified plug-in electric vehicles.
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment act 2009 also authorised federal tax credits for converted plug-ins. Total credit for a new PEV is $7,500.
  • Several states have introduced incentives and tax exemptions for BEVs and PHEVs.
  • The US Government has pledged @2.4 billion in federal grants to support the development of next generation electric cars and batteries

 

Japan :

  • New scheme introduced in 2016 grants higher subsidies as the electric range of the model increases, with maximum subsidy at @7,700.
  • BEV sales (typically with larger batteries and higher electric ranges than PHEVs) in 2016 increased by almost 50% while PHEV sales dropped 35%.

 

Gearing up for an Electric Car Future…….. Are we the Indians ready?

It can be done. With the Indian government wanting to get the Auto industry ready to facilitate electric cars in India, our country is not just struggling to change the mindset of the customers but also create infrastructure for these cars. The steps need to be taken now and in the next decade, to make sure that India is ready for electric cars —personal and commercial— by 2030. While the transformative push for electric vehicles has become a cause célèbre for India and the world, it presents challenges along with opportunities. The draft national energy policy states: “EVs are an area of huge interest to India as it holds the potential of reducing the demand for liquid fuel.” “The advent of EVs will have helped curb a rise in share of oil and environment friendly gas would substitute oil in many uses,” it adds.

First things first: Value is everything. “Unless the EV is good for the customer, I can’t push him to buy it,” RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, said on Sept. 12, 2017. “Before I start pushing EVs, I have to make sure they give him the value that they should give to him, which is what a customer expects from Maruti.”

While costs are the primary problem, they are not the only one. EVs in India average about 120 km on full charge, making them unsuitable for long drives. Then there is the lack of speed—the top two India-made battery-powered cars have a top speed of 85km/hour. That can turn off buyers.

Convincing the price-conscious Indian consumer, even if the infrastructure is in place, will still come down to two factors: the cost of ownership and vehicle quality. While EV costs have fallen, boosting demand, better performing vehicles will be key to achieving the 2030 target.

Electric vehicle manufacturers in India/ manufacturers of electric vehicles launched in India are as summarized:

Fully Electric Cars: Solar panels in the roof of Reva NXR concept car, Mahindra e2oPlus, Mahindra e-Verito.

Hybrid Cars :Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, BMW i8, Mahindra Scorpio MicroHybrid, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Diesel SHVS, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Diesel SHVS

Motorcycles and Scooters :Tunwal E Vehicles private limited, Lohia Auto Industries, Heroelectric, BPG, BSA motors, TVS, EKO, Okinawa AutotechPvt. Ltd.

Electric Bicycles :Hulikkal Electro India Pvt Ltd, Ampere Vehicles, BSA Motors, EBike India, Electrotherm

Buses :Electric Buses in Bangalore by BMTC-

• India’s first electric bus was launched in Bangalore in 2014;

• Ashok Leyland launched its electric bus in October 2016; Tata Motors launched its pure electric bus ‘Starbus Electric 9m’ and hybrid ‘StarBus Electric 12m’ in January 2017.

Mini pick uptrucks :Mahindra, Tata Motors, Ace Electric in 2016 ,   Ashok Leyland, Dost Electric pick up truck

Heavy duty trucks, semi-trailer and tractor trucks :There are no known cases of manufacturing and use of electric heavy duty trucks, semi-trailers or tractor trucks in India.

E-Rickshaws and E-Autos :E-rickshaws are three-wheelers with a covered cabin, have speed limits below 25 km per hour and can seat four passengers (excluding the driver). They’re ideal for last-mile connectivity from, say, metro stations to workplaces. The e-auto can cover longer distances at higher speeds and has more stringent criteria on performance, safety and construction. A Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament in 2015, which established battery-powered e-rickshaws as a valid form of commercial transport in India. With their small size and small turning radius, E-rickshaw is already a popular mode of transport in Delhi-NCR, particularly in small lanes and congested areas. Come December, state-owned Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) will float tenders for 25,000 electric rickshaws and a same number of electric autos to lease out to aggregators, who will deploy them in the market. Industry committees have already released specs for the vehicle, powertrain, weight and battery.

The e-rickshaw market is pegged at 1 lakh units per month across India, with a chunk being monopolised by unorganised players and Chinese products. But the utility of the vehicle for last-mile connectivity and in areas where transportation is still a challenge is attracting a host of automakers.

Kinetic Green, from the promoters who rolled out the once-iconic Kinetic Honda scooter two decades ago, is the leading player in the e-rickshaw segment, which sold over 10,000 units last year.

Unlike Mahindra Electric’s other vehicles, which are powered by lithium-ion batteries, the e-rickshaw is powered by a lead-acid battery to keep costs low. However, Mahindra also is working on lithium-ion and swappable batteries for e-rickshaws. The e-rickshaws, which will be manufactured at the company’s factory in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, will be able to cover 80 km with one full charge.

Mobility Solution Providers : In 2015, Bangalore based Lithium Technologies launched a fully electric taxi service for corporates. In June 2017, Bangalore based logistic group Baghirathi Travel Solutions became the first company in the country to launch electric sedan as a taxi fleet.

The Indian Market Scenario :

Today, just about 22,000 EV units—a mere 2,000 of them being four-wheelers—are sold annually in India. “This industry (EV) is starting to take off. And it’s still a tiny percentage of the overall vehicle market but it’s starting to reach an inflection point where it can have I think a very significant impact globally,” said Sandalow, who was acting under secretary of energy during former US President Barack Obama’s term. Such a shift to renewable energy makes imminent sense for India which paid Rs 4.16 trillion to buy 202.85 million tonnes of crude oil in 2015-16. “Particularly in a high solar resource country like India, it is a very good strategy for providing transportation,” Sandalow said.

No doubt that companies like Tesla are making a beeline for the Indian market. While the Model 3 has already hit Indian shores in 2017, Tesla founder Elon Musk was said to being wooed by the government to set up a manufacturing unit for its EVs in India. Musk had even tweeted that a Gigafactory in India would make sense in the long run.

With Volvo’s July announcement that it would phase out the internal combustion engine and manufacture only electric or hybrid vehicles by 2019, many believe India’s EV moment has arrived. It won’t be long before major automakers in India follow Sweden-based Volvo’s lead in phasing out internal combustion engines and electrifying their line-ups to meet the 2030 deadline.

India Inc is preparing plans for mega investments for the electric vehicle mission including charging infrastructure worth thousands of crores in cities, batteries and purchase of three-wheelers and cars. Government officials said they have held extensive discussions with more than 50 companies, domestic and foreign, for setting up charging infrastructure – a vital requirement of the country’s ambitious e-vehicle plan. Ola and several local taxi aggregators are also considering bulk purchases of electric three-wheelers and e-rickshaws and lease them, industry executives and officials said.

The central government, with all its offices in Delhi, and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation are planning to rapidly adopt electric vehicles in the near term. The aggressive expansion in electric vehicles segment is expected to be driven by the ambitious road map announced by India’s planning commission (NITI Aayog) that targets a ban on fossil fuel–powered vehicles by 2030.

The government has already placed the order for 500 electric sedans from Tata Motors Ltd. and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. as part of its ambitious target to end dependence on fossil-fuel driven passenger transport by 2030. It’s also invited tenders for charging infrastructure. The Indian arm of Swiss power equipment and robotics company ABB Ltd. told BloombergQuint recently that it has bid for setting up 4,500 such stations.

The government is now procuring 10,000 electric vehicles, the competitive bids for which resulted in a 25% reduction in the price of the contracted vehicles from their prevailing market price. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), which is procuring these vehicles, follows a business model of making upfront investments in energy-efficient equipment, which it recovers from customers over a period from the savings they make in energy consumption.

With the Indian government wanting to get the Auto industry ready to facilitate electric cars in India, our country is not just struggling to change the mindset of the customers but also create infrastructure for these cars. The steps need to be taken now and in the next decade, to make sure that India is ready for electric cars by 2030.  .  In its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, the government targets six to seven million EVs on Indian roads by 2020. That target is likely to be missed but to power EVs, the country will need Li-Ion batteries and battery packs. Currently, the battery pack costs nearly half an EV’s cost in India. Any effort to reduce that cost – via local production, for instance – will add to the shift towards a lower petroleum footprint in the economy.

Currently, Indian companies are importing Li-Ion cells from China and making battery packs in India. However, the Li-Ion bandwagon……in what will be the biggest private investment in a new industry in recent years, India’s gig factories Reliance, Suzuki,  Hero, Adani, Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra and such others  are readying plans to enter battery manufacturing and battery pack assembly with investments running into several billion dollars over the next decade or so. A number of relative outsiders such as JSW Energy plan to join too.

Reliance Industries, the country’s largest company by revenues, seems to be most ambitious of the lot. Multiple sources said the company had aggressive plans with one telling FactorDaily that it was looking at a factory that would produce Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries of 25 gigawatt-hours (GWh) capacity either in Gujarat or Maharashtra. There is a lot happening in the EV space, and Reliance has long been in the energy business. A 25 GWh factory will cost at least $3.5 billion, benchmarked against spending on global projects of similar scale. Reliance already has a partnership with British oil and gas company BP for energy storage projects near solar and wind energy installations in India.

Suzuki Motor Corp. and Toshiba Corp. have already unveiled their Li-Ion battery plans for India. Suzuki recently announced that it will invest Rs 1,150 crore together with Japanese partners Toshiba and Denso Corp. to set up a Li-Ion battery facility in Gujarat. Suzuki will own 50%, Toshiba 40%, and Denso 10% of the joint venture that will make batteries and battery packs for Indian car maker Maruti Suzuki and export to Suzuki. The first battery will be produced by the end of this decade.

Mumbai-based JSW Energy, part of Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group too wants to launch EVs by 2020, is also planning to set up a battery factory. JSW Energy plans to enter into energy storage systems business for both in static and mobility applications as it will be forward integration of its existing business of power generation to distribution.

Hero Future Energies said it was awaiting a government policy before taking the plunge. “We are looking at energy storage and lithium ion battery packs manufacturing. That’s is a big opportunity, both in vehicles and utility, but we haven’t taken up a firm decision yet, on which direction we should take as there is no policy around it,” CEO Sunil Jain said. It’s an expensive business to be in and we are waiting for the government to bring out some policy and some incentives.

The rush into Li-Ion battery production is part of a reset that India is attempting in its energy industry. In its efforts reduce its oil dependency India has an ambition to increase solar generated power to 100 gigawatt (GW) by 2022 from the current 13.65 GW. But, this is only one part of the push. By 2030, the central government wants only electric cars to be sold in India. As early as the turn of this year, London consultancy IHS Markit predicts that India will overtake Germany to become the world’s fourth-largest car market by volumes; and the third-largest by 2020.

Current Scenario in India’s EV Infrastructure : Noooooooooo. It’s not just batteries alone.  “The support infrastructure needs to be in place—charging infrastructure and a robust smart electricity grid to take the additional load,” Yaquta Mandviwala, a partner at Boston-headquartered consultancy firm Bain & Company said.

Charging Station : An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, electric recharging point, charging point, charge point and EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of electric vehicles, such as plug-in electric vehicles. There are only 100-odd charging stations across India, which makes it difficult for vehicle owners to undertake long travels. That means EVs are still used mostly within city limits.

Praveer Sinha, chairman and managing director of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd said that a fast-charging station requires an investment of about Rs. 25 lakh, while a slow charging outlet would cost about Rs. 1 lakh. When the electric vehicle sales pick up in about five years, an area of 3 km could require about 300 charging stations with about 4-5 charging slots. The company plans to partner DMRC and Municipal Corporation of Delhi to set up charging stations at metro stations and other possible locations, he said.

There are multiple narratives in this fast evolving scenario. From solar power developers and lithium ion battery makers to automobile manufacturers of marque badges, everybody seems to have thrown their hats in the ring. India’s Maharatna and Navratna companies such as NTPC Ltd, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd, all want a piece of the EV pie in order to remain relevant in the uncertain and evolving energy landscape of the country. For energy firms, setting up a charging infrastructure is an attractive prospect, given the lucrative market potential. A top official involved in the government’s e-vehicle’s programme said Tata Power, ABB, ACME Cleantech, and few Dutch firms are actively considering setting up vehicle charging stations, while Exide Industries, Amron Batteries and Microtek have held discussions with officials about supplying batteries and setting up bulk shops for motorists to swap drained out batteries with charged ones.

State-run NTPC and Power Grid Corp are also in talks with Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) and other entities in over half a dozen cities for space to set up battery charging and rapid vehicle charging stations, industry and government sources said. The two firms also plan to                                                    purchase batteries in large numbers to lease them out as the government plans to promote electric- three wheelers without batteries to cut costs, sources said.

While setting up charging stations is a challenge, it was easier than adequately strengthening the distribution network. An NTPC official said present charging infrastructure is limited as the number of electric vehicles on roads is miniscule as compared to petrol, diesel and CNG vehicles. “It is a chicken and egg kind of situation.

Since presently there are less electric vehicles, companies did not want to set up charging stations,”.Power regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has recognised three business models viable within the framework of the Electricity Act 2003. Sources said only electricity distribution licensees and its franchisees could be allowed to set up charging stations                                                          as the Act prohibits sale of electricity by any entity other than distribution company.

We are already seeing a divergence of business models for operators of charging infrastructure aimed at the users of private EVs.

  • Free EV charging points :To attract customers to some of its malls, property developer and real estate company DLF offers free EV charging at some locations. Similarly, EV manufacturer Mahindra Reva has an agreement with the Gopalan chain of malls to set-up free charging points at its retail centres.

 

  • Community charging stations: Since commercial charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in India has not been fully developed there have been some initiatives to set up community charging stations, as in the case of Plugin India facilitated charging stations. An organic initiative intended to proliferate charging stations beyond city limits – thus contributing to the ecosystem that will allow EV use in India to flourish. Most businesses are connected to the grid and 15 Amp level 2 sockets are common in India. The idea is for businesses and organisations located between 40-70 km around cities to set-up 15 Amp charging stations. The intention is to allow urban EV owners to extend the range of their journeys by offering out-of-town charging. There are currently 222 community charging stations, some offering free charging as an incentive to attract visitors – at resorts and malls for instance – others operate on a commercial basis with customers paying to charge their vehicles. The 15 Amp stations offer slower charging times than the 3 – DC systems set-up by discoms, or offered at most city-centre charging stations.

 

  • Regulated rates for charging:In the summer of 2017, Tata Power, installed its first electric vehicle charging station at Tata Power receiving Station at Vikhroli, Mumbai.These chargers would facilitate electric car users to charge their cars (Battery Electric Vehicles such as the Mahindra e2o, Nissan Leaf, etc) at any time safely and conveniently with customers paying rates set by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission. The chargers can also monitor the car battery charging status and units consumed while charging a car. The company plans to set up charging stations at various locations in Mumbai and is already in discussions with various stakeholders.

Reliance, another private power developer, is also reported to be looking at the EV charging market.State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in collaboration with Ola has also launched its first electric vehicle charging station at one of its petrol-diesel stations in Nagpur.

  • Reassess EV charging network :Discom Maharashtra Power Company is looking to use its substations in prime Mumbai and Pune locations as EV charging station sites. In a sign of the challenges, the commercial market presents high costs led discom Bangalore Electricity Supply Co to reassess plans to set-up a smart grid to provide an EV charging network in the city.

 

  • Investments by Large Fleet Operators : Another area of growth in India’s EV infrastructure is investment in charging stations by operators of large fleets, many of which are already switching to EVs. Typically, such stations are at main hubs such as bus depots or taxi companies’ main offices or ranks. Taxi aggregator Ola, which operates an EV fleet in Nagpur, has set-up 50 charging points across four strategic locations in the city.

 

  • Battery Swapping : The nascent concept of battery swapping is an area in which India’s EV infrastructure trends differ from those of more affluent nations. The battery is among the most expensive elements of any electric vehicle, with the cost increasing significantly as storage capacity grows. Affordability means that two and three-wheeled vehicles account for 80 percent of India’s domestic vehicle sales. To ensure electrification of this vital fleet does not make two and three-wheeled vehicles prohibitively expensive the government has suggested swapping batteries as an alternative to charging. China has tried this with buses. It has also been successful with two-wheelers as they use smaller and lighter batteries. With passenger’s cars and SUVs, it may not yield the desired results.

“You can look at swapping batteries for commercial vehicles, two-wheelers and even a fleet of cars, but it will not work for individual transportations cars.” says Sohinder Gill, CEO, Hero Electric, India’s largest electric two-wheeler firm.

“Better swapping has been tried in France and Israel. It is an immensely complex model with challenges related to both vehicles and batteries,” says Bruno Grippay, Vice President, Product Planning, Design and EV Business, Nissan Motor India. “Apart from that, it requires setting up swapping infrastructure, including own charging stations, which is far more expensive than EV charging infrastructure.”

  • India’s approach to the Alternate Vehicle Fuels market : The government is using its own, highly significant procurement power, apart from providing vision, policy framework and financial stimulus to advance India’s use of electric vehicles. The centre has signalled the intention to buy 10,000 EVs for its fleet. The first phase will be 1,000 EVs for use of government departments in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). In tandem with this Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is planning tenders for nearly 4,000 EV charging stations in the NCR. Established under the Ministry of Power, EESL is a joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation, and POWERGRID.

 

  • Whether operating on a commercial business model, charging a bus fleet, or ministerial cars, EV charging stations and networks demand a reliable power supply. Without this, they will fail. Although Central Electricity Authority data from 2016 showed India to have a power surplus for the first time, load shedding and power outages remain common, with some parts of India having access to power for less than eight hours a day. As a result, it is anticipated that much EV charging infrastructure, especially that not operated by discoms, will require supplementary or alternative energy sources.

 

  • As the government is also keen to see an uptake in renewable energy sources it is widely expected that solar energy– especially roof-top solar will play a significant role in powering charging sites. As EV evangelist Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala told delegates at the 2017 Connected Vehicles conference, “Solar panels covering 0.5 percent of Rajasthan can generate power for 330 million EVs … We don’t have oil, sunlight we have.” The ability to generate, manage and store power – from both renewable and grid sources — make micro grids a likely element of much EV charging infrastructure.

Five steps to a successful Electric Vehicles Programme

Those involved in developing India’s EV charging infrastructure face some difficult, and sometimes opposing, considerations: business model – free or revenue generating? User – mass transit or private EV owner? Type – battery swap, community charger or high-speed super-charger? Power source – grid, solar or a micro grid managed hybrid.

Ensuring the right delivery partner is central to success, so here are five things to consider when planning your project:

  1. Business model: Choose a partner with experience of delivering EV charging programmes for all business models. They will be best placed to understand what is required to meet your specific goals.

 

  1. User: Virtually every aspect of mass transit charging infrastructure will differ from that for private EV owners. Be sure your partner has experience in creating both – so can draw upon best practice from a variety of sources.

 

  1. Type: Not only will the charging technology differ across types of stations. Planning, permitting, design and construction needs will also vary. You need a partner who can demonstrate experience in every aspect of the project.

 

  1. Power source: EV projects stand or fall on the reliability of the power supply. So you need to choose a partner with considerable expertise in both power generation and power supply projects – from both grid and renewable sources – and the proven ability to integrate them into an EV charging station.

 

  1. The best partner will be one with experience in every aspect of an EV charging programmes lifecycle: from concept through to asset management. This will be the partner best able to deliver maximum value from every aspect of your programme.

Keeping India’s Electric vehicle fleet moving will require a significant growth in the country’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. India has nearly 56,000 traditional fuel stations compared with 222 community EV charging stations. Developing India’ electric vehicle charging infrastructure is of utmost importance, to see a growth rate in electric vehicles.

Last week, the southern state of Karnataka approved a policy to promote research & development in electric mobility. It has now made it mandatory to have charging points and pods in all high rises. Maharashtra had waived various taxes for EVs when it became India’s first state to have an electric mass mobility system—in May, taxi aggregator Ola began operating 200 EVs, including taxis, buses, e-rickshaws, and auto-rickshaws in the state’s Nagpur city. Various state governments are making their own plans in this regard.

The Government: The Need to Improve Policy Framework :

“It’s a funny thing about life : If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it,” said W. Somerset Maugham. Globally, electric cars have proliferated on subsidies, an area where India is way behind Europe, the US and China. Given India’s Growth potential pollution levels and dependence on imported fuel, a shift is a necessity. But is the country ready for its EV journeyLack of clear government policy and the fear of the unknown among automobile manufacturers are the two big reasons why EVs have remained a pipe dream in India so far. In 2016/17, just 22,000 EVs were sold in India, the majority of those two and three-wheelers. There is every apprehension that given this trend to continue we may miss out on the big opportunity.

The government says, a broad policy that taken into account every aspect of EVs is being formulated, but its action does not inspire confidence. Apart from penalising hybrids with 28 per cent tax under the Goods and services Tax regime, the government imposed a 12 per cent tax on EVs and 28 per cent on lithium-ion batteries, which flies in the face of the stated aim of encouraging battery replacement technology. There are also questions on what technology the industry must use and whether the government is right in giving priority to one technology over the other? “The policy should be technology agnostic. The government should lay down markers for emissions as it happens elsewhere in the world. Let the industry decide the best way – hybrids, electric or even fuel cell – to achieve these targets,” says Girish Wagh, Head, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors.

Previous instances of government abruptly changing its stands have also made the industry cautious. The only policy document in this area, the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2013, laid down a road map targeting annual sales of six-seven million hybrids / EVs from 2020 and provided for incentives and tax rebates for both. This government, however, has been quick to debunk hybrids. It wants manufacturers to directly make the transition to an electric future.

“It will be very difficult to change things from tomorrow. I have seen that kind of a change anywhere in the world,” says Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and Chief Executive of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., India’s largest car maker. “I am not sure what the government wants. We need to know what the realistic programme for shifting to EVs is. It is difficult to verify. There are difficulties in expanding sales as the cost is very high. How will we absorb that kind of thing?”

There is a gulf between the industry’s expectations from the government and the latter’s ambition. The mistrust often flows into the public doman. The government has set a target of reducing its oil import by 10 per cent by 2022. That is here EVs will play a big role. A NITI Aayog report says the reduction of 156 MT of oil equivalent worth Rs. 3.9 lakh crore was possible if its target of EVs, accounting for 40 per cent two wheelers, cars and SUVs and 100 per cent commercial vehicles and three-wheelers, is achieved. It is not possible if the industry does not come on board.

“First, when I urged you to go for electric vehicles, you said the battery is costly,” Gadkari said at the SIAM convention. “I coaxed you to start at least. Now the batteries cost 40 per cent less. And if you start now, the cost will be reduced further on mass production. Teething trouble is everywhere.”

EVs have already started disrupting transportation worldwide, and India cannot keep itself isolated. But it cannot be forced from one end nor resisted from the other. “It will start with a clear policy roadmap because that is going to push investments,” says Chetan Maini, Vice Chairman at Sun Mobility. “There is a time lag between the expectations of the industry and what the government is doing or has been doing and it is valid. There is a top-level bush push towards EVs and excitement within the industry. But we need to move fast now. The policy is the missing puzzle.”

If Tesla, Inc. were to sell a car in India today, it wouldn’t be allowed to set up charging stations. That’s because only power distributors can offer electricity in the country. The Electricity Act needs to be amended to allow private companies to get into public power storage, Saurabh Kumar, managing director of state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd., told BloombergQuint. Petrol pump-like charging infrastructure, managed by public-private partnership or the private sector, is required to promote e-mobility. At the moment, that is not allowed. The country stands at 100 on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and Prime Minister NarendraModi’s government has been easing rules to improve the ranking.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is set to put in place liberal rules for charging stations to power electric vehicles, seeking to facilitate rapid expansion of the infrastructure needed to support its ambition of an all-electric fleet on Indian roads by 2030. For instance, the norms under preparation will not require government and private institutions that set up charging stations for captive use to possess an electricity retailing licence. Only entities that get into the business of charging stations and retail electricity to third-party vehicles will require such a licence, two persons familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission is working on these norms. The idea behind a liberal framework for charging stations is to accelerate the expansion of the use of electric vehicles, which could bring economies of scale and could push prices down.

EVs have already started disrupting transportation worldwide, and India cannot keep itself isolated. But it cannot be forced from one end nor resisted from the other. “It will start with a clear policy roadmap because that is going to push investments,” says Chetan Maini, Vice Chairman at Sun Mobility. “There is a time lag between the expectations of the industry and what the government is doing or has been doing and it is valid. There is a top-level bush push towards EVs and excitement within the industry. But we need to move fast now. The policy is the missing puzzle.”

“By and large, we see electricity emerging as the primary source of energy,” said power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh last month at a conference. “When we were discussing mobility, somebody was telling me that electric mobility is more efficient than mobility by petrol or diesel. The only thing which is required is for the prices of the battery storage system to come down. So, that is a future which I see that gradually we will move towards electric mobility. Now, that will require investments in storage systems (and) in electric vehicle manufacturing,” Singh added.

Policy think-tank Niti Aayog has recommended offering fiscal incentives to EV manufacturers and discouraging privately-owned petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles. These are potentially far-reaching moves for India’s mobility, energy and environment needs and could spell the end of the internal combustion engine as we know it.

India should invest in small scale reinforcements to manage the load issues locally instead of going for a massive change. Home charging should be encouraged for long battery life and grid balancing. Proper planning of place, population, traffic density and safety should be taken in to consideration before implementing the large scale charging infrastructure for the second largest populated country of the world. Consortiums of companies in the transport, energy and power electronic sectors which are working on projects connected with the initiation of commercial charging terminals for electric vehicles, as well as fast-charging stations. It seems, however, that the most important question in the building of an electric vehicle market, and the EV vehicle charging system, is the integration of activities in the energy and transport fields. Only systematic development of both systems will provide stable and reliable electrical power system, especially at the level of limited power and sustainable development of the Indian electric vehicle market.

Without that, the electric vehicle story in India will only be a false dawn….. Or alternatively, the Government just wakes up and Lo………the right policy environment in the price, subsidising and creating new infrastructure with Government resources or even opting for Public Private Sector Partnership… making mandatory for all Government offices, whether Central, State or Local Bodies Hospitals, Schools etc to use EVs only .. India can hasten the world toward an Electric Car Future and can become a Global provider for clean mobility solutions and processes that are affordable and scalable….


Author : Lajpat Ray Chandnani

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