Future to Electric Vehicles

Bringing sustainability in the electric vehicle manufacturing industry

Sustainability and electric vehicles – the buzzwords of the twenty-first century!

Sustainability today is one of the most widely debated topics in the media and society. It is also a popular topic of study in science from various perspectives. The recent overriding environmental concerns have got the automotive world under scrutiny.

Sustainability thus has become the centre of R&D in the automobile sector.

Since its advent in 2017, electric micro-mobility alternatives have grown considerably. Electric-assisted bicycle (e-bikes) sales in the United States alone increased by 145% in the US in 2020. At the same time, e-scooters are becoming more popular in Europe as the EV market has already shown a growth of 30% in 2020. 100+ European cities have started to use e-scooters, according to the Global EV Outlook 2021. Asia, notably China, has the highest concentration of privately owned electric two/three-wheelers, accounting for 99 per cent of registrations. Globally there are roughly 290 million two/three-wheelers on the road presently.

The increased focus, acceptance and demand for electric vehicles have spurred both well-established companies and start-ups to enter the EV space in automobiles; here are a few examples:

  • Kazam, an intelligent IoT-based charging station platform, was launched in December 2020 to deliver smart and economical charging solutions to address India’s charging infrastructure problem.
  • Exponent Energyis an electric vehicle company that does not manufacture vehicles. Instead, they have created a “Flexible Energy Stack,” a combination of hardware and software. Flexible energy stack claims to have the capability to charge any electric car from 0% to 100% in 5-15 minutes.
  • BluSmart’sEV-based ride-sharing platform. On November 17, they announced the ambitious goal to deploy 100,000 electric taxis across India’s “megacities” over the next five years.

Since the majority of the EV controversies revolve around charging, it is critical to cast some light on them. One can choose from any of the several methods available for recharging the battery pack in your electric vehicle. Essentially, it comes down to two factors: WHERE you wish to charge and HOW FAST you want to charge.

The two are usually linked. The charging speed depends on the EV, battery capacity, and the charging station employed.

  1. The first is a Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) AC charger that meets the current charging standard established by the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) in September 2021. Within two months after its formal notice, the Delhi Government was the first to implement this billing norm. The purpose of the charger is to charge light electric vehicles (2 and 3 wheelers), but it will also work for e-cars.
  2. The second charging standard is AC 001, the most extensively used AC charging standard and generally used for two and three-wheelers.
  3. The third charging standard is the DC 001, compatible with e-cars primarily utilised by fleet operators.

It has been widely accepted that EVs, being naturally carbon-neutral, represent the future of mobility and would be critical in fighting climate change concerns. However, to implement socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable practices and produce meaningful, long-term value, the mobility ecosystem will need to embrace all aspects of sustainability.

Long-term success in the automobile sector is driven mainly by persistent innovation plans, strong branding, a worldwide efficient value chain, and trained and engaged employees.

Megatrends including pollution reduction, lightweight build, autonomous driving, connectivity, and mobility services have irrevocably changed the dynamics for good. Research and development will be the key to long-term success; after all, no other industry invests more in this area than the automobile industry.

More than 30,000 tonnes of natural fibres were used in the European automobile sector in 2005, and the amount touched 50,000 tonnes in 2015.

Hemp, kenaf, and flax are good alternatives to glass fibres since they are cheaper, have a lower density, have higher strength, and are less damaging to the environment. Its strength makes it suitable for use in car interiors sections that require additional strength, such as door panels. Replacing glass fibre with natural fibres can help bring down costs from ten to thirty per cent.

Furthermore, kenaf, grown mainly in China and Thailand, has the highest CO2 absorption rate.

The extensive innovation efforts in electric mobility and autonomous driving allow the re-evaluation and redesign of the car’s interior. The car’s interior will now have the appeal of a living place. The use of attractive surfaces made of environmentally friendly materials will be employed, among other things. The interior is becoming increasingly crucial in purchase decisions. It arouses emotions, provides comfort, safety, and functionality, and radiates brand identity as a fusion.

CO2 emissions rules in the European Union played a significant role in increasing electric car sales, which reached 2.1 million in 2020, the highest yearly rise. The continuous tightening of fuel economy and tailpipe CO2 standards has enhanced the importance of EVs in meeting the criteria. Today, such requirements apply to more than 85 per cent of all automobile purchases globally. As the use of EVs becomes convenient and economical, public charging stations will become increasingly crucial.

The government’s most essential responsibility in reducing pollution and promoting sustainability is to rapidly increase renewable energy generation and make electric charging stations as lucrative an investment as gasoline and diesel stations.

Without clean energy, electric vehicles are just as destructive to the environment as gasoline and diesel automobiles, just in a different place (as the generation is happening elsewhere). However, as solar and wind power become more prevalent, India’s grid power is set to become cleaner over time. The International Solar Alliance, established by India, is an alliance of 120 countries between the Tropics aiming to increase solar capacity dramatically. A forward-thinking effort for a greener planet.

Overall, EV combined with clean energy throws up enormous opportunities for innovation job development.

However, given the rapid pace of change, one needs to consider the automotive industry’s need to adapt to the evolution.

Swivelling the auto component value chain, recycling, battery recovery, green charging infrastructure (both grid and off-grid), and sustainable interior and exterior would go a long way toward ensuring a bright future for electric vehicles.

India looks to have stepped up to take the lead in EV, and it appears to be charged for an electric future!

A step that would undoubtedly place India at the top of the global economy, with aggressive, rapid growth that portrays sustainability to benefit people, profit, and the planet!

Raj Mehta
Founder, Greta Electric Scooters

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