Electric cars in India – what do they look like and are they really better for the environment?

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Hey, have you heard about these new electric cars in India? 

Of course! The future of electric cars in India is looking, electric! 

Bad joke but you caught my interest. What’s the buzz? 

As people get more environmentally aware and with the government offering tax breaks for using electric cars, it’s little wonder that the manufacture of these cars is picking up speed. The growth comes from companies big and small. Strom Motors, a start-up in Mumbai is offering its Strom-R3 which has a unique design of a single wheel at the rear and two wheels in the front. The design, says the company, offers stability and higher efficiency making it cheaper than most regular cars to drive per kilometer. Big player Tata Motors is already taking bookings for its Nexon SUV. All these have standard charging points, most complete a full charge overnight (depending on the speed of car and distance) and have a battery life of at least five years, varying by model. And they have souped-up tech stuff too – apps that track rides, inform you of your battery health, charge etc. so that you know how your car is performing at all times. 

Amazing! We should all convert! 

Yup. Besides getting a new car, you could actually convert your old car too. Another start-up decided to tackle the environmental concerns of air pollution, traffic congestion and lack of vehicle scrapping facilities in India by turning existing petrol or diesel cars to electric cars. Hyderabad-based BharatMobi uses creative technology to remodel vehicles to electric ones. The cost of converting a car to an electric one is about Rs 5 lakh. It saves money on maintenance too as there are fewer parts to service!

Impressive! But I have a question. What about all the stuff you need to make and run the car? How green are these cars really? 

There is much research on this. The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology has created a tool to check just that. What happens when the battery size changes? Or when you consider the battery lifetime? What happens when winter conditions affect battery performances? Making electric cars does use a lot of energy which is mainly due to lithium-ion batteries which are an essential part of an electric car. More than a third of the lifetime CO2 emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to make the car itself* But technology to improve the batteries is rapidly improving so there is much hope for the future. 

What about the electricity required to run these electric cars? 

More research on that too! The European Energy Agency found that even when you take this into account, found that, carbon emissions of an electric car are around 17 – 30% lower than petrol or diesel cars. The other benefits are more well-known; less greenhouse gas emissions and lower air pollution and noise pollution (electric cars are generally quieter). 

So pull out that petrol nozzle, plug in your charger, and drive green! 

  • Source – theicct.org

Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.

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