Switch To Non-Polluting Alternative Fuels Or Get Bulldozed: E-Vehicles Or E-Mobility

Switch To Non-Polluting Alternative Fuels Or Get Bulldozed: E-Vehicles Or E-Mobility

Author: Dega. Ramya Tulasi

Osmania university of social sciences

Edited by Aayush Agarwal

India is the latest emerging power in the world and is constantly showing its colors in all sectors.  The country of diversified cultures and religion is facing a number of problems due to rapid increase in pollution levels in various parts of the country.  India is also in search of alternative fuels and E-vehicles.

            India is the 5th largest emitter of greenhouse gases.  India is just behind China, USA, European Union, and Russia.  India’s per capita emission is about 1.2 tons per year.  That is about 1/4th of the global coverage.  India is now turning itself to move towards electric and biomass-fueled vehicles in the interest of pollution control and saving on feel import bills.

            Against this backdrop, Gadkari’s policy leadership on electric and alternative-fuel vehicles is exciting.  The question now should be what needs to be done to drastically increase the share of cleaner vehicles on our roads.  We must also remember that we have unique reasons for faster adoption of electric vehicles.  Our vehicle ownership is still minuscule, particularly so if you count cars.  In Delhi, for instance, it is estimated that roughly 21% people own cars and some 40% own motorcycles.  All in all, a large section is yet to move to vehicle ownership so it can motorize differently.

            Our e-vehicle imperative is also different.  In the rest of the motorized world, e-vehicles are finding it difficult to compete with cleaner and much more fuel efficient modern cars.  We cannot ignore that e-vehicles, if they use fossil-fuel energy, coal or even natural gas used in power plants-will displace carbon dioxide generation but not replace it.  In other words, there will still be pollution, but it will no longer come from the fail pipe of a car, but the smokestack of a power plant.  But e-vehicles provide a solution to local air pollution which we desperately need.

            Sri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State with independent change for power, coal, new and renewable energy and mines, recently announced that only electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold in India from 2030.  The current National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) has set a sales target of only 5 to 7 Million EV’s and Hybrid Electric Vehicles annually by 2020.

            The Government plans to set up a committee for an institutional framework on large scale adoption of electric vehicles in India as a viable clean energy mode particularly to help bring down alarming levels of pollution in big cities.   

The center has recently invited proposals from cities with population of above 10 lakh for extending grants under the FAME India (Faster Adoption and manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle in India) scheme to promote large scale adoption of EV’s in multi -model public transport. 

While adopting a technology, Indians have made changes to their attitudes and societal norms but often also made the technology work around their instincts.

We all now hear wind, tyre, and road noise which is rapidly growing in our cities.  Imagine thousands of cars moving around quietly on our roads.  It is a known fact that electric motors are among the perkiest movers.

The eclectic motor powering the car can reverse its role by becoming a generator and charging the battery. Consumer behavior and adoption will determine the system that electric vehicles will have in the future.

Electric cars present a unique opportunity for Indian drivers.  Instead of tamping down the technology, we can instead change our habits and be mindful of lanes, wait for our turns, be polite and respectful to others and their needs, and make our driving smooth as well as make the best use of regenerative brake systems in our newly introduced cars.

The Indian Government recently became proactive in making India a nation of electric cars.  In January, 2017, the Indian Government announced to bear up to 60% of research and development (RandD) cost for developing the indigenous low cost electric technology.

The Government wants only electric vehicles to play on India’s rounds by 2030 as part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the global agreement on climate change and to reduce spending on oil imports.

Electric Vehicles can be differentiated into 3 types:

Firstly, it relies on continuous electric supply from an external generation system. This includes electric bus and trains supplied by overhead wires.

Secondly, it runs on stored electricity drawn from an external source which are chargeable battery-EV’s are the most popular example.

Third, relies on a board electric generation (ICE) to power an electric generator.  The car is powered either by the electric generator or both the generator and the engine, depending on the mack. Fuel cell vehicles, which use oxygen (usually from the environment) and hydrogen from fuels such is natural gas to power electric generators are also part of third kind.

The principal point to make is where will the electricity they consume will come from

            A few hundred thousand of electric cars spread all over the country can have their batteries charged from sockets in their garages or at charging stations installed at petroleum pumps, without unduly increasing the load on the existing power stations.  This will genuinely help to lower emissions.  But when 350 million vehicles have to be charged up every day, at any time of the day or night, anywhere in the country, not only will an entire-nationwide and therefore expensive, recharging infrastructure have to be built, but the power these vehicles will consume will have be generated first.  Given the limited capacity of solar P.V. Power to meet this demand and the miniscule contribution of nuclear power in India’s energy mix, nearly all of this will have to come from coal.  Even with supercritical temperature and pressures of steam to drive the generators, the conversion efficiency of head into electricity is no higher than 42%.  There will be further losses in converting
AC into DC current and in overcoming the inertia of moving parts as electric energy is turned into mechanical energy to drive the vehicle.  All in all, therefore at least three times as much fossil fuel energy will have to be consumed as the energy saved by switching from oil and gas to electric cars.  Most of it will come from coal, which generates for more greenhouse gases per unit of unable energy than Petrol, Diesel or CNG.

A clean-up act: No compromise over air quality

            The 2017 deadline for a nationwide shift to BS-IV had been repeatedly emphasized in various forms and retreated by the Parliamentary standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas in its review of the Auto Fuel policy nearly two years ago.  Significantly, some automobile manufactures themselves called for a decisive shift in favour of higher emission standard, since they had invested in upgraded technologies over time.

How BS-IV engines cut emissions drastically

            The court’s order means that a little over eight lakhs BS-III vehicles will have to be either upgraded or sold abroad.  As a total sum, there is a small fraction of the 19 Crore vehicles on Indian roads as on today.  The requirement for manufacture to adjust to the new reality should serve as a reminder that they had the fuel companies and they must be prepared for next big deadline; an upgrade to the BS-VI standard by April 1; 2020 leap fogging BS-V.  More immediately the centre has to ensure that the objective of Supreme Court order is met and the ‘One fuel, one country’ goal is fulfilled.  The ultimate goal of India is an imperative shift to a clean nation.

Non-Polluting Alternative Fuels

Why alternative fuels

            Alternatives hold the key to the future of the automobile industry.  There is tremendous potential both in terms of performance as well as reduced health risks.  But the automobile sector has failed to show a real interest in those fuels.  Today there are many alternatives: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Methanol, Hydrogen fuel electricity, solar energy, and Bio-diesel.


            Globally researches are looking at vegetable oils to run on.  They are trying to use extracts from a wide variety of sources including Neem, Mahua, Mustard, Castor, and Karanj as blending substance for conventional fossil fuels like diesel.  Biodiesel is Oil derived from vegetable sources and used as a substitute for diesel.  Biodiesel has been food to be non-polluting fuel with low Sulphur which is good for engines.  Europe is leading the Biofuels market followed by USA.  The most commonly used blend in Europe is “B20” which has 20% Biodiesel.

            According to the recent study, Biodiesel mits less particulate matter, Hydrocarbons and Co, but more VOx.  These Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions may be due to an increased combustion temperature.  Bio-diesel also works with new technologies such as catalytic converters, particulate traps and exhaust gas recirculation.  According to the U.S based world Energy Organization (WEO), overall Ozone forming potential of Hydrocarbons emissions from Biodiesel was around 50% less than that of diesel.

            According to exports, Biodiesel is nontoxic, biodegradable, and free of Sulphur. The cancer-causing potential of Bio-diesel particulate matter is 94% less than that of the diesel emission. Blending of just 1% Bio-fuel into diesel can also increase lubricity by upto 65%. Bio-diesel has already shown commercial success as an oxygenated lubricity additive.

Ill effects of Biodiesel

            Bio-diesel has about 10% higher Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) than other petroleum products.  Nitrogen Oxide is one of the gas that is used in information of Smon and Ozone.  Once it gets dissolved in atmospheric moisture, can cause acid rain.  According to a study, India would have to wait for more exhaustive omission studies to be conducted to demonstrate how Biofuels could help meet air quality standards.

Advantage of Biodiesel

            Bio-fuels are produced locally and thousands of people are employed in Biofuel production plant since Biodiesel is produced from ropes, an increase in demand for Biodiesel leads to increase in demand for suitable Biofuel crops.  Moreover, it creates less emission by reducing the amount of suspended particles in the air.  This reduces the cost of healthcare products.  Experts believe that using Biodiesel instead of Petroleum can reduce greenhouse gases up to 78%.  Recently the National Policy on Biofuels had set the target at 20% blending of Bio-fuel with petrol by 2017.  It is estimated that the Biofuel business in India will touch Rs.50,000/- Crore by 2022.  At this backdrop, the new green technology can become a game changer.


            The reality is that switching to non-polluting alternative fuels or switching to e-vehicles or e-mobility both have a positive side and a negative side.  We cannot say that any one of them will have no negative impact.  Both of them are a difficult choice and get on to one for our benefit.  But we are happy that the Indian Government is trying hard from both sides.  It has already started looking into alternative fuels and also e-vehicles sector.  It is now to be observed as to which path becomes the right path and right direction of pollution free philosophy though less budgetary means.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article or any other publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of sadvidya or its members 

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