Globally many countries are moving towards more electric vehicles (EVs) on the streets and worldwide the share of EVs has increased to more than 1%.
In India, the government has also prioritised EVs in their nationally determined contribution (NDC). There is a favourable national climate when it comes to EVs, and the national government is pushing for electrification of transport.
A lot of incentives are being provided to bring down the initial purchase costs. Usually this should translate into lots of electric cars on the streets, but in India that is not the case.
In order to understand this phenomenon UNEP DTU Partnership last year embarked on a study of barriers to diffusion of EV 2 and 4 wheelers in the city of Hyderabad.
The results of this study was presented last week at Transport Summit DTU. The transport summit brought together stakeholders from industry, public entities, researchers, entrepreneurs and students to discuss, engage and debate the latest developments in transportation.
Awareness is lacking
At the Transport Summit DTU, senior researcher Subash Dhar presented UNEP DTU Partnerships findings on why there has not been the expected uptake of EVs on the Indian market. An uptake that is very much needed, if the country is to reach its goals for electrification and greenhouse gas reductions.
The study found that there is a very low awareness of both government policies and incentives and awareness of EVs in general. This covers both 2 and 4 wheelers.
As an example, only 7% of consumers in Hyderabad were aware of both electric vehicles and government incentives, while more than half never heard of either.
Electrification of transport can play a huge role in reaching the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement targets and India’s NDCs, if it is combined with decarbonisation of electricity.
It can also contribute to achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy goal 9 on Industry, innovation and infrastructure, goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and goal 13 on climate action.
Besides lacking of awareness, diffusion of EVs face multiple barriers, with absence of charging infrastructures and vehicle purchase costs the most significant barriers.
The study also found that driving range might not be a significant barrier for two wheelers since 80% of consumers were comfortable with EVs that had a driving range below 80 km. In case of 4 wheelers a large percentage (60%) felt a driving range of 120 km was adequate.