Industry News

Indian government’s commitment to invest in renewable energies is vital to the success of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, Anil Kumar, managing director of automobile component maker, SEG Automotive India, said in an e-mail interview.

“To decrease dependency on imports of fossil fuels and reduce the carbon intensity of power generation, the Indian government has committed to significant investments in renewable energies,” Mr. Kumar said.

“By 2027 the share of renewable energies is supposed to increase to about 35%. Mobility in India will thus become much greener in the future.”

Globally, sales of electric vehicles in 2017 rose by 78% year-over-year to 668,000 electric vehicles. But the market share among new registrations in the year was just 0.8%, according to a white paper prepared by the company.

With sales of 3.6 million passenger cars in 2017, the Indian car market still has enormous potential for growth, according to the paper. Electric vehicles market share is below 0.1% and a public charging infrastructure is yet to be established in India.

“The clean energy targets by the government and infrastructure investments will support the growth of EVs. It is worth mentioning, however, that for EVs to have a great impact to mitigate climate change, we need to further improve the share of renewable energies in the future. The 35% target by 2027 has to be the first step, not the end goal,” Mr. Kumar said.

Even in 2040, according to current forecasts, only 31% of the world’s electricity demand will be provided by renewable energy, he said. “As a result, even then EVs will not be the best solution purely in terms of Co2 emissions. This is why the Indian government’s commitment to invest in renewable energies is so vital to the success of EVs in India.” India is slated to add 227 GW of renewable energy capacity by March 2022 and it will overachieve its 175 GW renewable energy generation capacity target, Power and Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh had said in June.

With the introduction of EVs, the automobile industry will initially face a challenge as the number of parts in an electric vehicle is fewer than that in a conventional internal combustion engine-powered vehicle, Mr. Kumar said.

Studies have shown that an electric vehicle will require approximately 70% lesser components compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle.

“However, as history has always shown, change is the only constant. While the old parts and products go off the market, it opens avenues for new products and opportunities. Auto companies need to adapt to this quickly to stay abreast in the competitive market,” he said.

“The future of electrification in India depends on the developments that happen in the three major areas. Ecosystem support, affordable technology development and building up of sustainable scale,” Mr. Kumar said.

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