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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Delhi made the switch to EVs, will rest of India follow suit?

With EVs, the Delhi government hopes to tackle a wide array of problems in the national capital ranging from air pollution to climate change. Here's how other states can too

Delhi finally made the switch. The question remains, will the rest of India follow suit or give in to our good ‘ol conventional ways? The national capital government has around 2,000 cars in its fleet. The entire fleet will switch to electric vehicles over the next six months, an official order recently stated. With this, the Delhi government hopes to tackle a wide array of problems in the national capital ranging from air pollution to climate change, by making use of EVs.

“It’s history! Driven by the vision of CM @ArvindKejriwal to make Delhi the ‘Electric Vehicle capital’, Delhi govt today became the 1st in the world, not just India, to mandate its entire hired car fleet to switch to electric WITHIN a deadline- 6 mths. @SwitchDelhi begins at home,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted on Thursday.

In August 2020, Delhi’s government launched an Electric Vehicle Policy to tackle the problem of air pollution. Under the policy, the government had promised to waive off the registration fee, road tax, and provide an incentive of up to Rs 1.5 lakh for new cars in the national capital. Under Delhi’s EV policy, at least 12 four-wheeler models have been made available and eligible for purchase and scrapping incentives. The Deputy Chief Minister said that he hopes that using Delhi as an example, cities of the world and other states in the country would ensure that using electric vehicles will become an essential agenda in the fight to curb pollution. “It is necessary to focus on the challenges related to a sustainable environment. Delhi Government has prioritised the issue of curbing environmental distress along with its other major agenda items,” he added.

Delhi made the switch to EVs, what about others?

While we are hoping that many states will consider the EV option and make the switch soon, here are a plethora of reasons that have been found to show that electric cars and vehicles are better suited for the environment. Reducing our carbon footprint, emissions, air pollution has become a major concern across the world now. The dangerous effects of climate change have already begun to show themselves. Int his scenario, electric vehicles are more appealing and definitely better suited towards creating a safer environment. Detailed research has shown that electric cars are better as they emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants in their entire life span than petrol or diesel vehicle. This is the case even when you consider the production of the vehicle and the generation of the electricity required to fuel them. As the interest in EVs keeps growing, there is no better time than now to understand their workings, production and maintenance costs and their impact on the environment.

According to recent studies, a mere five per cent conversion of petrol/diesel cars to EVs can save about 45 lakh litres of fuel. That definitely sounds like a massive amount. Even after considering pollution generated by the generation of electricity for EVs (mostly using coal), research suggests that each e-bike can save up to 350 kilograms of carbon-dioxide emissions every year. This does not just help with reducing carbon emissions, but also will help solve complicated problems like energy security, air pollution and job creation. The switch to electric and more advancement of electric mobility might solve a lot of problems in India, including the reimagination of the auto industry. Hence, Delhi’s policy could be a game-changer even if a minimum percentage of the taxi-cabs and public transport vehicles switch to zero-emission electric vehicles. Following suit, the rest of India can adopt EVs gradually making them mainstream in the upcoming years.

Are electric cars better for the environment?

The answer could be an easy yes. Some of them even have no tailpipe thus making them pure electric vehicles with no carbon dioxide emissions while you drive them. This is major in terms of creating a better quality of air in towns and cities as it reduces air pollution considerably. Over a span of an entire year, just one electric car on the roads can save up to an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona — that’s huge. Not just air pollution, but electric vehicles can help with noise pollution too. These cars are way quieter than our conventional petrol, diesel vehicles.
When we think of winter in Delhi and other parts of North India, we think of the toxic air that people have to breathe in due to the amount of pollution. As per the State of Global Air 2018 report, air pollution is a silent killer in India and the country has already lost about 11 lakh people due to it. However, that’s not all. Recent studies have also shown that almost 27 per cent of COVID-19 cases in East Asia have been a result of long-term exposure to polluted air. One important way to combat such toxic air is to reduce vehicular emissions. Several studies found that in a city like Delhi motor vehicles are the major source of pollutants emissions, contributing to around 40 per cent of PM2.5. Thus the switch to EVs sounds like a necessity if not anything else.

Electricity required to fuel an electric car, how environment-friendly is that?

Many people have this question. Research by the European Energy Agency stated that even with “electricity generation, the carbon emissions of an electric vehicle are around 17 – 30 per cent lower than driving a petrol or diesel car. The emissions from electricity generation are also dramatically improved when low carbon electricity is used.” This definitely sounds like good news. With all its benefits, EVs could help consumers and drivers make better and informed choices for preserving the environment. With technology advancements, more efficient manufacturing techniques, the number of emissions created during the electric vehicle’s production of batteries is set to improve drastically in the coming years. Reusing and recycling batteries has also become a thing in the market now. Even after taking all this into account, EVs are a greener, cleaner option than conventional vehicles. So, are you ready to make the switch?

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