top of page

Environmental Impact of Electric Vehicles in the Indian Market

Written by: Jagriti Shahi, Business Analyst @Global Launch Base

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the purchasing of electric vehicles. There are many reasons behind this, one might think about making the switch to an EV – electric cars are higher efficient than gas-powered vehicles, can reduce your dependence on fuels and require less maintenance than most cars.

Many people who decide to buy an electric car believe that EVs are one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Unlike hybrid and gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicles run entirely on electricity. Depending on how their electricity is generated, electric vehicles can run on fully sustainable renewable resources. When assessing the environmental impact of electric cars, four factors need to be considered: tailpipe emissions, well-to-wheel emissions, the energy source that charges the battery, and the car's efficiency.

When an electric vehicle is powered by electricity, it produces no tailpipe (also known as direct) emissions. On that basis alone, EVs are far more environmentally friendly than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles currently on the market.

However, when analysing an electric vehicle's eco-friendliness, the "well-to-wheel" emissions must also be considered. This is an umbrella term for greenhouse gases and air pollutants emitted during the production and distribution of the energy used to power the car. Depending on the resource, the amount of emissions produced by electricity production varies. While "going green" by driving an electric vehicle is a start, if your primary goal in purchasing an electric vehicle is to reduce your greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, you should also prioritise using zero-emissions electricity wherever possible.

Considering Well-to-Wheel emissions, an all-electric vehicle averages about 4,450 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. For comparison: Traditional gasoline engines emit more than double each year. Well-to-Wheel emissions from electric vehicles vary widely depending on the region and the most commonly used energy sources for electricity. For example, if you live in California, electricity may come from natural gas. This does not apply when EVs are used and charged in New Hampshire, as the state gets most of its electricity from nuclear power plants.

Natural gas supplies most of the electricity, followed by coal. It emits 50-60% less carbon dioxide than coal and is often considered the "cleanest" fossil fuel. Coal accounts for about 65% of carbon emissions in the electricity sector. That said, even if your electricity comes primarily from a coal-fired power plant, driving an EV will result in lower overall well-to-wheel emissions compared to a traditional car. It could be similar. In most places, the combination of resources used to generate electricity means that driving an EV today will result in lower production.

How to maximise the environmental benefits of your electric car?

Electric vehicles emit less than comparable gasoline vehicles. However, if the goal is zero Well-to-Wheel emissions, not all power supplies will be created the same. If the main reason to buy an electric car is eco-friendly, you should consider driving it with renewable energy sources that you can generate at home (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.).

When buying an electric car, homeowners often consider combining it with a solar array on their roof to charge their car. An average home with 5kW of equipment pays about $ 10,465 for a solar panel system. Payback periods vary from location to location, but most homes across the country will reduce the cost of investing in solar panels by the seventh year.

Combining equipment with electric vehicles saves even more sunlight and costs even faster in itself. why? Installing solar panels means eliminating what you normally pay for gas and running your car with the free electricity generated by your panels. You can also consider increasing the size of your solar panel system to build the capacity to charge your electric vehicle. The number of additional panels needed to power an electric vehicle depends on the efficiency of the vehicle, the frequency of driving, and the potential for solar energy in the area in which it is installed.

If you cannot generate your own renewable energy for your electric vehicle on your premises, you can consider joining a community solar share or switching your utility to a "green" option that uses renewable energy sources. Community solar is expanding rapidly across the country, and the majority of utilities today also have the option to source electricity, especially from renewable resources.

The efficiency of Electric Cars

Apart from the resources used to generate electricity, another reason EVs are considered more sustainable than traditional vehicles is that EVs are more efficient. When gasoline in a traditional car burns to power the car, about 17-21% of the energy is converted to electricity in the car. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, can convert 59-62% of the electrical energy into vehicle electricity.

When comparing EV options to traditional petrol vehicles (or hybrid options), car buyers often rate MPGe, also known as miles/ gallon equivalent (gasoline). EPA calculates MPGe by representing the number of miles a vehicle can travel with the same (or equivalent) amount of energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. The average MPG for a typical petrol car is about 24.7 miles per gallon. It's much more efficient than it used to be, but it's not as efficient as the MPGe EVs on the market today. Currently available electric vehicles can achieve the equivalent "fuel economy" of up to 100 MPGe. This is more than four times more efficient than traditional cars.

Market Size of EV in India

According to the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Karnataka have a wide variety of electrical vehicles (EVs) on the road. In India as of January 31, 2022, there had been a total of 9,66,363 EVs in use.

Figure 1

According to Figure 1, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of electric vehicle sales in India which was followed by Delhi and Bihar respectively.

Government support/ Organization:

  • The Ministry of Heavy Industries created the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India (FAME INDIA) scheme in 2015 to promote the adoption of electric/ hybrid vehicles (xEVs) in the country.

  • Currently, phase 2 of the FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of five years beginning on April 1, 2019, with budgetary support of Rs 10,000 crores (US$ 1.34).

  • This phase aims to support the electrification of public and shared transportation as well as provide subsidies for 7090 e-buses, 500,000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger cars, and 100,000 e-2 Wheelers.

  • “E-AMRIT”, a government e-portal for EVs.

The Indian Startup Scene

India's electric vehicle (EV) sector is expected to grow strongly this year, backed by the strong funding received by EV companies in 2020.

Figure 2

Figure 2 shows EV sales in 2021, with the highest sales of three-wheeled vehicles compared to other models in India.

How is the EV sector doing right now?

The fragmented Indian EV market has many active local players due to its high growth and affordable workforce. Established players in the market are introducing new models, but startups are taking the lead in this market, expanding their presence, raising money from investors and opening up new unexplored cities.

As far as the emergence of new startups, these are the few companies that are currently looking for start in the Indian market:

  • BePowered: Produce, store and consume electricity at the best moment. Solar inverters, charging stations, battery storage systems, heat pumps etc.

  • AgeVolt: To accelerate e-mobility adoption, by making EV charging convenient and accessible whilst achieving optimal energy distribution.

  • Current (aka Meshcraft): Launching a charging network is a complex process. We will handle the technology you need. We're here to help you with everything from setting up your network to branding your app to processing payments.

  • Echion Technologies: Supplies high-power Li-ion battery anode materials that enable superfast charging and low Total Cost of Ownership for the most demanding applications.

  • Enerpoly: Enable sustainable, clean energy on a global scale. Their technology helps battery manufacturers deliver more affordable solutions to renewable energy providers, accelerating the progress to carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions.

  • Bluedot: Driving electricity yields climate, health, and economic benefits and they are helping to accelerate the transition.

  • Altigreen Propulsion Labs Pvt. Ltd: Altigreen is an electric vehicle technology and solutions company working for commercial last-mile transportation through 2, 3, and 4 wheeler vehicles.

  • Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd: Energy specialises in manufacturing 2 wheelers. They currently sell 2 products – Ather 450x and Ather 450 plus.

  • Bycyshare Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Zypp): Zypp is India’s leading tech-enabled EV-as-a-Service platform. The startup aims to make India carbon-free by using an ecosystem of Electric Vehicles and EV-based technology to make last-mile logistics sustainable and emission-free.

As a result, the impact of the EV transition in India on the automotive value chain is notably crucial for the automotive components business and jobs in this sector. However, like with any major shift, the route to an electric future is filled with difficulties. However, the ultimate objective of a cleaner, brighter, and greener future must be accepted. Thus, the potential of progress and the capacity to affect things for the better is always exciting.

Global Launch Base helps international startups expand in India. Our services include market research, validation through surveys, developing a network, building partnerships, fundraising and strategy revenue growth. Get in touch to learn more about us.

11 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page