The Future is Electric Vehicles
As the catastrophic effects of global warming becomes more evident each day, there is an urgent need to take effective measures to restrict further rise of temperatures. A major contributor of global warming is vehicles, switching to Electric Vehicles (EV) and discarding fossil fuel driven vehicles will drastically reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute generously to global warming. It is heartening to note that India has already taken a number of steps to make this changeover a smooth affair. A recent survey claimed that a total of one crore electric vehicles will be on the road by the end of the decade. These vehicles will include both two-wheelers and four wheelers as 40 new models of electric cars are expected to be launched in the next two years, which may provide some relief to the people sweltering under rising temperatures.
The oil ministry has proposed to ban all diesel-powered four wheelers by 2027 in cities where the population is more than a million. It is also trying to introduce EVs for the commercial sector too, which will bring down vehicular pollution rate to a great extent. But the ministry’s most ambitious plan is to discard all diesel vehicles being used in the public transport system by 2030 in the country. For this purpose, it has proposed to stop the inclusion of any diesel vehicle in the public transport fleet from next year. It is hoped that the steps suggested by the oil ministry will be implemented in a time-bound manner to make a notable contribution to our fight against climate change.
However, before the implementation of these measures, first and foremost a proper infrastructure with a supporting ecosystem should be built to ensure a hassle-free transition from age-old fossil fuel units to electric vehicles. It must be remembered that the experiment with compressed natural gas (GAS) has failed to achieve much success as there are not enough CNG refilling stations in the country. Delhi was the first city in the country to shift its entire public transport fleet to CNG despite a lot of protests from various quarters. Sadly, no other states have shown the same amount of determination as Delhi in using CNG instead of fossil fuels. As a result, while some private vehicles also run on CNG on Delhi roads nowadays, all other states are still dependent on petrol or diesel vehicles.
This is why an established and feasible ecosystem should be in place before launching electric vehicles in large numbers. If the movement of electric vehicles are restricted in a state or two due to lack of proper facilities like battery-charging and other technical assistance, efforts to beat the rising heat will face defeat, much like what has happened in the case of CNG. It should be ensured that electric vehicles do not face similar hardships. As a quick-fix solution, the government could use existing petrol pump chains, making it mandatory for them to have charging facilities, provided it is safe. Electric vehicles are the future and the infrastructure to support them must be established on a war footing.