How far do you travel in your electric vehicle on a daily basis? How long does it take to charge the battery back up to full capacity? How many hours will it take if you don’t have access to any kind of charging station? These are questions that every EV owner asks themselves every day, and they’re going to become increasingly important when India celebrates World EV Day 2022 as the country with the largest number of EVs in circulation. For this to be a day that people actually celebrate, we need to create an infrastructure that allows people to enjoy their vehicles without worrying about running out of power halfway through their drive.
What are Electric Vehicles?
Electric vehicles, or EVs, are powered by a power source that produces electricity. They’re usually charged with electricity from the electric grid. In order to achieve complete independence, they would also have to be able to produce and store their own electricity.
Charging stations for these vehicles are an important step towards cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. But some places do not have enough electric vehicle chargers to keep up with demand. One of those places is India, where environmental conditions are not ideal for generating renewable energy. As more people buy electric cars, they will require more green charging points in order to keep them running efficiently. Electric vehicle charger use varies across various regions.
For example, EVs tend to be popular in California because there’s ample access to electric power. On the other hand, China has been ramping up production of electric vehicles over the past decade due to government incentives and high domestic prices for gasoline-powered cars. However, as of yet, there aren’t many public electric vehicle chargers available. Tesla Inc., one of the largest producers of electric vehicles, has been working hard to expand its network of Supercharger stations.
These stations allow drivers to charge their car battery within minutes rather than hours at a normal charging station. Tesla estimates that it needs six thousand Supercharger locations around the world in order to reach everyone who wants an EV. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), no single country can support this kind of global expansion alone.
Benefits of EVs over Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles
EVs are cleaner and quieter than their ICE counterparts. In the United States, battery powered vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 50%. A 2017 study also found that if all vehicles on the road switched to electric cars and trucks, it would eliminate as much air pollution as getting rid of all US coal power plants.
Furthermore, EVs provide an unmatched driving experience without noise or vibration. Plus, unlike conventional vehicles, most EVs are easy to accelerate from a standstill—something many find difficult with ICEs.
There is no shortage of reasons why owning an EV is worth considering over a traditional car. But there’s one drawback that needs attention: lack of places to charge them up. Lack of charging stations has been cited as one reason people avoid going electric, even though they might be able to afford it otherwise. With more public charging stations popping up around the world (including new ones in Delhi), this problem will only get better over time-but some issues remain unsolved. For example, access can be limited when trying to charge at home because not everyone has access to a garage or yard space where they can install solar panels, which is often necessary for generating enough energy while at home.
Public charging stations, while growing in number, can still be hard to come by depending on what country you live in. When these options don’t work out, drivers may resort to range anxiety, a fear that they’ll run out of electricity before reaching their destination.
Challenges faced by EV Charging Infrastructure
India has a number of challenges to overcome, most prominently being the rapid pace of growth that leaves many parts of the country without electricity. Between 2009 and 2012, there was an increase of over 43% in households without access to electricity and without private connections to the grid.
To solve this problem, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, green energy sources such as solar and wind will account for 60% of new power generation projects between now and 2020. This means that policymakers should be looking at ways to develop renewable energy sources where grids are currently not available or do not exist at all.
Moreover, given the fact that EVs take hours to charge versus gas cars taking minutes, India needs more charging stations than traditional ones. For example, if EVs accounted for 20% of cars by 2030 and they were charged at home each night—only 30 minutes’ worth of charging each day—the Indian power grid would face a shortfall of 8 gigawatts on peak demand days. More sustainable solutions are needed to meet the increasing demand and allow EVs to reach their full potential in India.
Charging stations with panels that harvest solar energy can provide enough power to reduce reliance on coal-generated electricity, which is often necessary when the sun goes down. In addition, research suggests that converting existing coal plants into hybrid plants using renewables could have a significant impact in reducing greenhouse gases and cutting down on costs for consumers.
Conclusion and the way forward
EV charging stations can be implemented on a small scale with an economic cost. Electric vehicle owners could have access to easily accessible public charging stations around their residential area and near the workplace, shopping malls, highways and other important locations. While this idea would require subsidies, it would incentivize the purchase of EVs by getting rid of range anxiety while also lowering the operational costs over time. This would not only decrease our dependence on fossil fuels but also help improve air quality.
A detailed plan is necessary to turn this idea into reality as there are many logistical issues to consider and overcome that could prohibit this venture from succeeding.