By Ashutosh Verma
Electric vehicles are being considered the most efficient way to reduce vehicular pollution. But, are they really carbon neutral? The electricity is mostly generated by coal-powered thermal power plants, which emits tons of pollutants into the environment. What are the energy sources that can be used to power electric vehicles? Solar energy is definitely one of them.
India is one of the world’s largest manufacturing consumer hubs when it comes to the automotive industry. The experts estimate it to be the 3rd largest in the world in terms of volume by 2026. Out of 26 million manufactured vehicles, India exported nearly 4.7 million across the globe.
Since the past few years, there has been a push to increase electric mobility nationally. The Government has shown interest in the distribution of electric vehicles, due to which the electronic auto industry can expect a boost. Local manufacturers and developers will receive an encouraging amount of activities to fulfill. There is a steady growth in the manufacturing of long-life chargers, charging stations across the country, and technical services related to the cloud and software. At the same time, there is a healthy ecosystem of electric vehicles being built by major OEMs. These companies and startups have started working in the developmental areas related to the vehicle itself. The research and technology are eventually coming to fruition.
Advantaged by its geographical location, India has seen success and growth in the deployment of solar energy. The capital investment and one-time installation last for about 20-25 years. Also, the return on investment in solar energy is a few years after which the energy input is free. As we know that solar energy is primarily generated via the Sun. It is where the origin of electrons occurs. It is collected by a solar array that rotates as the sun does. It means that as the sun rises and sets the rotation of the array occurs. Then, it converts the sunlight into electricity before it sent to computers and wire-connected electronic devices that use a battery. It then sends power directly to the car. This mechanism is cost-effective and also contributing to making the environment safer.
If this radical shift in adopting EVMs reaches fruition millions of vehicles will require charging stations. The usual fueling infrastructure will need replacement so people can charge their vehicle batteries to move forward in their journey. The Indian Institute of Science has developed a solar photovoltaic powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Such zero-emission charging stations not only improve air quality and helps integrate the populous of renewable energy. There are challenges related to EV charging infrastructure and power grid management. But, India is investing heavily in resolving these issues and has feasible solutions that are ready for implication.
Demand from electric vehicles in India is estimated at 69.6 terawatt-hours by 2030.~ Assocham and EY
As India strives hard to meet the climate goals, the demand for renewable energy resources is high. Businesses and consumers alike are readily adopting a green lifestyle and solutions. These among other factors are driving the demand for numberable EV charging stations. According to a joint study by Assocham and EY, demand from electric vehicles in India is estimated at 69.6 terawatt-hours by 2030. The current power distribution system in the country can fulfill this demand, but, more than half of the grid is fueled by coal-fired power plants. It will increase emissions and defeat the nation’s plans.
The NEMMP 2020, and FAME-II scheme is one of the most ambitious plans laid out by the Government of India.
The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, and Phase II of the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme is one of the most ambitious plans laid out by the Government of India. As transport-related air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are regularly above dangerous levels in major Indian cities, this plan comes along at the right time to control and make a significant impact. The growing prosperity in India has given rise to the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emission, which right now, is nearly 23% of the global emissions. India is home to 6 out of 10 top cities in the world causing pollution. Several states in the country rolled out state EV policies and plans after the national mission was declared. The corporate clean mobility ambition was also a timely announcement made by the local authorities.
In this mission announcement, it was considered to convert existing vehicles to electric. In doing so, there will be a need for terawatt-hours of new grid requirements. Such plans require careful thought and meticulous planning to lessen the expenses and get maximum benefits, primarily for electric utilities and distribution companies called Discoms. Unfortunately, in the current scenario, these key factors are not discussed across industry forums.
We must also consider that if EV charging is not controlled it will spike the demand. The possibility calls for infrastructure development at a distribution scale. Renewable energy-powered EV charging stations can help resolve the issue by appropriating peak and off-peak demands. Off-peak capacity will blot excess renewable energy production reducing overall emissions. In Nagpur, the Shakti Foundation TERI report showed that they cut down on expenses by 28%. They used solar panels on the rooftop. A discom readiness study by Rocky Mountain Institute India in 2019 showed an existing charging infrastructure in the county, for example, a readiness for the state of Haryana. The report has also highlighted the need for discoms to step up. It is also required for them to set up through smart and proactive market management. Planning a large distribution system will have its wide range of internal and external challenges.
EV owners will save money ranging from inexpensive electricity to earnings from the supply of ancillary services such as spinning reserves and frequency control of the grid. Distribution and transmission grid operators, wholesale markets, and developers will have more tools in their business to meet demand and improve efficiency. Common has many advantages to benefits from EVMs as well as industry players. It is a refined way of contributing to the environment and keep our plants healthy.
Also Read: Electric vehicles: How clean is “green”?
(Ashutosh Verma is the Founder of Exalta, a UP-based solar product company.)
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