EV -The Future of Mobility

Automobiles have become a fundamental part of our lives. Facilitating travel and transport, automobiles are quite literally the engine of economy and commerce. The future of mobility is being scripted today as we try to substitute fuels for electrical energy.

The 21st century has seen a paradigm shift in the automobile sector. This sparks the question as to why this change was necessary? More than 1 billion cars run on either petroleum or diesel. Both petrol and diesel are non-renewable sources of energy; meaning that eventually we will run out of these energy sources. Even more concerning than this is how these fuels contribute towards carbon emissions and environmental pollution thereby leading to global warming.

EV or electric vehicles are being dubbed as the future of the automotive industry. Big companies like Tesla, Ford motors, Volkswagen are all pushing for this change. General Motors USA highlighted that their vision for the future of automobiles is “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestions. As EVs run on battery, they have zero carbon emissions, providing great environmental benefits. The cost of purchasing an EV is more than that of a conventional car owing to the limited number of companies that produce these vehicles. However, in the long run, consumers can greatly benefit from purchasing an EV as recharging cost of EV batteries is much cheaper than refueling charges. India too has been making strides in the EV department. Recently, OLA launched its new green initiative: The Ola Scooter. Going by the tagline “Many Colors, All Green”, the new Ola Scooter will be available in 400 Indian cities. The company is also setting up more than 100 thousand charging points all across the country for the consumers.

It may seem that the future of the automotive industry is all electric but we really have to ask ourselves the question: how many people are going to make this switch? EVs have a very high cost upfront which most consumers can simply not afford. However, governments have been providing tax credits and subsidies to make the purchase of EVs more attractive. Moreover, limited driving range and lack of chagrin infrastructure has made it an undesirable purchase for those consumers who travel longer distances. India was reported to have only about 650 charging stations in the year 2018. It seems pointless to buy an electric vehicle if there is no widespread network of charging stations. The change to EV would also require investment in human capital. Companies would have to train their staff regarding operation, repair and maintenance of EVs. To build such intellectual knowledge would take a lot of time especially for the developing countries.

Plentiful challenges are plaguing the change from conventional cars to electric vehicles. Although very efficient and pollution friendly, the use of EVs does not guarantee nil carbon emissions. In the end electricity itself has to be produced either from non-renewable or renewable sources of energy. Companies like Tesla claim to use 100% renewable energy for charging and other operations, emerging as a role model for other companies in this sphere. Energy efficiency, reduced noise pollution and carbon emissions are some of the pros that EVs have to offer. If automobile giants can manoeuvre the challenges they face, electric vehicles can prove to be a huge asset to save the environment.

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