How e-mobility will be the future of intercity road transport
Affordable and clean energy is one of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. Electronic vehicles have emerged as the most viable solution in the mobility sector; they are sustainable, clean and release zero emissions, which addresses all environmental issues.
India is the world’s largest producer of two- and three-wheelers and the second-largest bus manufacturer. The growth of e-mobility in these segments will make a significant impact on the overall future of mobility.
E-mobility is growing rapidly, buoyed by various factors such as technological advancement, economic viability, rapid adoption by users, a favourable policy regime, and a host of other factors. Therefore, the adoption of e-mobility in public transport, including intercity transport, is a given.
Climate change has brought into focus zero waste and sustainability. Many global companies like Apple and Flixbus have committed to becoming carbon neutral companies by 2030-40.
The Indian government has also pledged to decrease its carbon footprint and incentivise e-mobility solutions’ growth in line with the Paris Agreement.
Smart mode of transportation
Growth in usage of Electric Vehicles (EVs) such as auto-rickshaws, bikes, and cabs on the Indian roads is a healthy signal that the country is moving towards EVs.
Buses make an attractive proposition for electrification due to their significance as a shared mode of transport, revenue potential, and long-distance run, especially for intercity transport.
Moreover, fuel costs contribute to 50-60 percent of the operational cost of the buses, whereas for bikes, auto-rickshaws, and cabs, the fuel cost is 25-30 percent, making e-buses a smarter mode of transportation.
Reduction in battery costs
Battery prices have fallen to $150/kWh in the last five years and may further decline to $100-120/kWh. But the primary reason e-buses are lagging compared to e-bikes or e-cars is due to the battery size and cost.
Earlier, the batteries available for e-buses were not capable of covering longer distances. The capacity of buses to run in a single charge has increased from 180km to 350 km due to advancements in battery technologies in the last four years.
The government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has also allocated Rs 18,100 crore for more advanced solid-state batteries.
Rising fuel prices
Rising prices of conventional fuel is another fillip, resulting in faster adaptation of EVs. A year ago, the cost of running an electric bus was slightly higher as compared to running an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) diesel bus. However, with diesel prices shooting upwards by 30 percent in just one year, operating electric buses has become more cost-effective.
All that is required is a higher investment towards the creation of manufacturing and assembling facilities and charging infrastructure.
Once there is an investment in these fields and a nurturing infrastructure for electric buses is created, India will see a rise in the number of bus owners adopting and purchasing electric buses for intercity travel.
Government’s support for EVs
PM Narendra Modi and his Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari has expressed a clear vision – an aim to introduce electric vehicles in all mobility mediums by 2025-2030. They are also promoting the same through multiple policies like FAME I and FAME II. FAME II, introduced in 2019, has been hailed by the industry at large.
It is very promising and is much along with the Chinese government’s policy of active promotion of EVs, which has helped them beat the US in terms of per capita EVs. China now has 44 percent, while the US has 17 percent of the 10.2 million EVs in the world. With FAME II enforced, India may have more electric vehicles per capita than the US in the next 20 years.
Increasing population and rapid and visible signs of climate change have led to a growing consciousness towards a zero-waste and healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Concurrently, in India, these initiatives and advancements will help unlock the future of mobility, reinforcing India’s public transportation system and leaving an enduring imprint on the way Indians commute.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)