Page 13 - TCExpessions 2019
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Technovation             13

          followed by Europe and the US. Norway is the world leader   to work upon. Technology has matured from slow chargers
          in the market share of electric cars.               to fast and ultra-fast chargers, effectively reducing the
                                                              charging time of BVs considerably, and is continuing to
           A collective effort                                evolve to improve charging time further.
          EVs have seen an increased uptake in recent years thanks
          to growing policy support from governments, and     Growth in charging infrastructure too has not kept pace
          commitments from the automobile industry. This trend   with the BV aspirations of many countries. Recognising
          is expected to continue as stricter emission regulations,   the importance of ready access to charging facilities in
          rapid developments in fast charging and hydrogen supply   reducing downtime for BV customers, a variety of business
          infrastructure, better total cost of ownership (TCO) and   models are emerging to fill this gap.
          higher consumer acceptance further help accelerate EV
          adoption.                                           As an alternative to BVs, Hydrogen-based Fuel Cell Vehicles
                                                              (FCVs) have been gaining momentum due to their
          Many governments have framed a future policy framework   fast-refuelling times and more extended driving range.
          to encourage manufacturers to invest in EV development.   They have an advantage over BVs in terms of weight,
          As sales of EVs grow, and as new technologies evolve,   range as well as being environment-friendly. Lack of
          we can expect economies of scale to drive down      commercialisation and technology maturity have however
          manufacturing costs. This will enable EV manufacturers   hindered their large-scale growth, so far.
          to compete with traditional automotive technology
          companies on pricing, and grow their share in future   Production, storage and transportation of Hydrogen
          vehicle sales.                                      pose critical challenges because of its low volumetric
                                                              density. Hydrogen storage as pressurised gas is widely
          A significant development on this front has been the   employed, considering its reliability, acceptable efficiency
          Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI), a multi-government policy   and affordability for on-board vehicle. Transportation
          forum established to accelerate the deployment of electric   and distribution costs are essential factors that affect
          vehicles worldwide. India is among the 13 countries   Hydrogen infrastructure. Producing Hydrogen on-site can
          currently participating in this initiative. The EV30@30   further reduce costs.
          campaign launched by EVI in 2017 sets a collective
          aspirational goal for all its member countries to achieve   Miles to go
          a 30% market share for electric vehicles (except two and   Even as India started relatively late on the EV journey, the
          three-wheelers) by 2030.                            government’s FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing
                                                              of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) subsidy scheme for early
          Ground realities                                    adopters has entered its second phase.
          Stringent government regulations on emissions are
          already playing a significant role in driving EV adoption.   The primary challenge for current and prospective Indian
          Worldwide, many countries have been striving to meet   EV manufacturers will be around affordability in pricing
          lower CO2 emission targets. India, too, has the added   and upfront acquisition cost for end consumers. The TCO of
          incentive of reducing crude oil imports that contribute to   EVs including their resale value plays an equally important
          its current account deficit. But while EVs have benefited   role in the Indian context. For BVs the replacement cost of
          from a combination of stringent rules and generous tax   the batteries will also have a bearing on the vehicle’s TCO.
          incentives so far, there are other factors at play.
                                                              Setting up of an adequate number of fast-charging
          New technology enhancements that help lower battery   stations across the country’s roads and highways is another
          costs in Battery Vehicles (BVs), reduce charging time and   operational challenge that will need to be addressed
          improve driving range, will be vital to the growth in BV   sooner. This aspect is especially important for commercial
          sales. Battery prices have dropped substantially over the   vehicles that often travel long distances and can afford
          past decade, leading to higher penetration of electric   minimal downtime.
          vehicles, especially in Europe and China. However, unless
          these drop to less than half of their current levels, BVs may   Addressing these initial roadblocks will be the first
          find it tough to compete with internal combustion engine   step towards achieving cleaner and greener mobility
          (ICE) vehicles on upfront acquisition costs.        solutions through EVs. But this journey – of reimagining
                                                              transportation systems in line with future needs – will be
          Faster charging of batteries is another area BVs will need   worth the effort. n
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