Can India really achieve its EV-only strategy?

Load-shedding, poor connectivity and voltage fluctuation. A look at the obstacles that India's electric vehicle strategy could face.
India is currently supporting a EV-only strategy to promote people t buy electric vehicles.
India is currently supporting a EV-only strategy to promote people t buy electric vehicles.Image: The Bridge Chronicle

While there has been an increase in the number of electric vehicles we see on daily basis, The Indian Auto LPC Coalition, an industry body of auto LPG stakeholders has suggested the government to improve focus on a blanket of alternatives rather than just on electric mobility.

The move to promote electric vehicles is in lines with the attempt to promote the use of more sustainable vehicles, that do not exhaust fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. Additionally, the soaring prices of petrol and diesel are making electric vehicles a viable option for people.

To support their suggestion, the body of LPG stakeholders cited the reference of the recent power grid failure in Texas, USA. The industry body emphasised the problems that could arise in such situations.

"For India, which is planning an almost complete switch to Electric Vehicles, the Texan crisis serves as a reminder of the need to promote a basket of clean alternative fuels, rather than focus single-mindedly on electric mobility," it said.

Considering the threat in India and around the world is important as loads-shedding remains an important part of the country. In such situations, if people are unable to charge their vehicles, commuting will become difficult. This also makes us question the viability of electric vehicles in India, all together.

Suyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition said: "Climate change is already upon us as is evident by extreme weather events being witnessed across the world, be it the freeze in Texas, the deadly glacier-break in Uttarakhand or the changing winter pattern in Munnar."

Noting that such extreme weather events may become a norm, he said: "India must take this into account while planning its long-term energy policies. In such a scenario, investing in a basket of clean alternative fuels to include low hanging and immediately viable fuels such as Auto LPG is a more viable long-term strategy, rather than banking totally on electric vehicle technology."

Gupta was of the view that the government must reconsider its EV-only strategy and opt for promoting a wide variety of clean alternative fuels. Auto LPG is one such immediately available solution that can replace petrol and diesel right away and reap immense benefits for the environment, he said.

Additionally, apart from urban cities, electric supply and voltage fluctuation account for one of the biggest problems. Tier 3 cities and villages do not necessarily have sufficient supply of electricity to charge a vehicle. In such a situation, the idea of EV-only looks a little dim.

(Inputs from IANS)

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