Electric Cars, you might have seen them a lot in the news lately (heard Tesla?). Almost every car manufacturer is onboard, researching and developing sustainable electric vehicles to replace the century-old fossil fuel propelled cars. Prominent electric car makers like Tesla are already up and running with their various offerings like Model S, Model 3. Even our homegrown Mahindra has the E2O on the road.
With vehicular emissions posing an immediate threat to our environment, the electric vehicle emerges as the best possible solution to this problem. Electric cars provide a cleaner alternative to the gas-powered vehicles and are a key driver towards a greener future.
Electric cars, by definition, is the replacement for conventional petrol or diesel cars. These types of vehicles utilise an AC or DC motor for propulsion using energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions and therefore are cleaner for the environment.
Types of Electric Cars
Battery Electric Vehicle
The quintessential electric car in its form. Uses pure electricity for fuel. These run on a limited charge range and require charging via a charging outlet. Electric cars have no tailpipe emissions and replace petrol with electricity. Hence they are the greenest cars available.
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, combine a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor and a large rechargeable battery. Unlike conventional hybrids, PHEVS can be plugged-in and recharged from an outlet, allowing them to drive extended distances using just electricity. When the battery is emptied, the conventional engine turns on, and the vehicle operates as a traditional, non-plug-in hybrid.
Conventional Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrids also use an internal combustion engine an electric motor and battery. By using both a conventional engine and electric motor, hybrids achieve significantly better fuel efficiency than their non-hybrid counterparts. They also pollute less and save drivers money through fuel savings.
Hybrids utilise features like Idle-off, Regenerative braking. Power Assist to save fuel. Unlike BEVs and PHEVs, Hybrids cannot be recharged from an outlet.
Why Electric Cars?
Why not? Its clean, its green and its mean
- Electric cars require less TLC, There’s no need for oil changes and owing to electric motors which have far less moving parts, EVs requires relatively low maintenance compared to an ICE vehicle. Most of the maintenance costs associated with an internal combustion engine are eliminated.
- EVs can also reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and smog, improving public health and reducing ecological damage and are a breakthrough towards greener mobility.
- Electrics are fast! Electric Vehicles generate near-instant torque, which translates to extremely fast acceleration and a “light” or “zippy” feel compared to conventional ICE cars.
- Considering long-term usage, electric vehicles provide a pocket-friendly mode of transportation.
Are Electric Cars Really Green?
Well, here’s the catch… at first, the concept of electric cars sounds lucrative and feasible, but there is a lot more to it.
An electric car runs on rechargeable batteries that require electricity. The primary source of this very electricity is traced back to Thermal Power Plants, which uses coal to generate electricity.
Are electric cars greener then? Not if you consider the emission from well-to-wheel and not just tailpipe exhaust. The main source of pollution in EVs is due to the current power generation process. With 60-70% coal-based power generation in India, it is doing more harm than good.
Another issue with EVs is Batteries. Most modern electric cars use Li-ion or Lithium Ion type batteries. Lithium-ion cells also rely on a limited supply of rare-earth metals, which are extremely environmentally hazardous to mine.
Electric Cars in India?
Concretising its commitment at the Paris Climate Change Meet, India has pledged to make a significant shift towards electric vehicles by 2030. India unveiled ‘National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020’ in 2013 to further give the EV trend a push. The Government of India also started the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme which provides incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.
Indian Car Manufacturers like Mahindra, Tata have various EVs to offer viz
- Mahindra e2o
- Mahindra e-Verito
- Tata Tigor electric
- Tata Tiago electric
But, with all these, India also has its fair share of challenges on the way.
As of now, the conditions aren’t very favourable for EVs. The primary issue being inadequate charging infrastructure, which is the toughest challenge regarding service integration for India.
Tesla, the EV giant, cited “challenging government regulations” in its reason of not venturing into India.