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Revolution of electric vehicles and their pros and cons

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 13 minutes read

By: Jayanta Sharangthem
I’d like to start this story by asking you a question. If you are going to buy a car, would you consider purchasing an electric car or a petrol-based vehicle? The electric vehicle revolution is here because of climate change and the shortage of petrol and diesel. You know that an EV runs on batteries. Climate change is the new buzzword, and why wouldn’t it be? One world is all we have, and our world is at risk. Countries’ corporates and citizens claim to be doing all they can to save this planet from climate change. Green energy is being floated as one of the top solutions. We are replacing coal with hydropower, fossil fuels with solar energy, and petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles. EVs are being pitched as cleaner, greener, and more sustainable. But are they actually the real solutions? What’s clean for the environment may not really be clean. Hidden beneath the shiny exterior of an EV is a story of blood batteries. Do you know what these batteries are made of? Where do they come from? But from rare metals like lithium, nickel and cobalt, which are explored and mined by companies and corporates from the earth’s crust rock through child labour, violating human rights, especially in Congo, where 70% of the world’s cobalt supply comes from it. These cars drive human rights violations, extreme poverty, and child labour. What this statement really means will be digested in the coming paragraph. Electric vehicles are paving the way for the future of the automobile industry. The biggest vehicle manufacturers are shifting to EVs in a bid to keep fossil fuel emissions in check. The government has a plan to ban or limit petrol and diesel vehicles within the next decade. EVs are the future, but we must also know that they need an entirely new rule book regarding regulations, safety, and precautions to protect us from EV fires, battery blasts, and electric shock. The EV market is going to grow exponentially. The reason behind the boom of EVs can be mentioned. Firstly, electricity used in EVs can be generated using local resources. Secondly, they can help to reduce carbon emissions. Thirdly, they will give us independence from fossil fuels that we currently import at a high cost. Fourthly, EVs may be expensive to buy, but they are much cheaper to drive, with regard to maintenance and per km cost. Fifthly, the government supports EVs.
In India, both the government and private entities are aggressively pushing for green mobility. But are our customers ready for this electric vehicle revolution, especially in India? Electric vehicles are the biggest trend. Technology is gaining popularity worldwide. The reason for this is simple. Countries are trying to move away from air pollution-creating fossil fuels, which will be extinct in the near future, and there is a global push for sustainable solutions in all walks of life, including the automobile industry. At the recently concluded 2021 United Nations Climate Conference, India pledged to cut its carbon emissions to net zero by 2070. India is also steering towards a battery-powered automobile revolution. State-run refiners have also announced plans to build thousands of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. Tata Company is the front runner in this regard, including the manufacturing of electric vehicles in India. Again, the Indian Oil Corporation, as announced, will set up 10,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the next three years in India. Bharat Petroleum will provide EV charging infrastructure at its 7000 fuel stations in the next few years, and Hindustan Petroleum has plans to set up 5,000 EV charging stations in the country in three years.
EV growth in India is currently hampered by high prices and inconveniences caused by a lack of charging stations.There are so many reasons behind this highly-priced EV. The batteries, which are made of lithium-ion and are very costly, are imported from other countries. This stands against the goal of becoming a global hub and self-reliant in making EVs. There are some major challenges in India. The high initial cost of buying an EV is a big obstacle for most, especially in a value-driven market such as India. On average, an EV is twice as expensive as compared to its fossil fuel counterpart, although the running cost of an EV is cheaper in the long run. The government claims that it doesn’t need any artificial push for the sale of EVs in India because the economy is so good that, due to the low per km cost, consumers will naturally shift towards buying EVs. The per km cost of a petrol-based vehicle is roughly Rs. 10, and for diesel, it is Rs. 7 per km, while for EVs it is Rs. 1 per km. Another challenge is the infrastructure to maintain and operate these cars for those who are living in homes, apartment communities or rent. The owner of the property may or may not permit the installation of electric charging stations. Sometimes vehicles catch fire due to battery blasts or there is a high current shock while charging due to non-certified or unrated charging points. These problems have been haunting the EV industry. The batteries need to be kept at room temperature, otherwise unfortunate things may happen. The recent reports of electric scooters catching fire could discourage many from adopting e-vehicles. This concern about safety needs to be addressed. Because an EV is a high-tech and complex electrical vehicle that connects to the internet, we must be concerned about high-potential security issues such as hacking, data breach, being vulnerable to attack, or having the car stolen. Last but not least, it may be mentioned that environmental effects may happen due to the exposure or throwing away of used carbon-based EV batteries into the environment. This is one part of the story.
Are we ready to buy an electric vehicle? The petroleum-based vehicle industry remains a dominant player in the automobile industry, but with rising concerns about fossil fuels and global warming, clean vehicles like electric vehicles are gaining popularity. The single most important factor driving the shift to electric vehicles is undoubtedly the battery. Performance, production, and the supply chain are all playing a decisive role. But are battery technologies and supply chains ready for the electric vehicle revolution? Anyway, the EV revolution is here. There’s no doubt about it. Everything changes with time, from the stone ages to this highly modern generation, because necessity is the mother of invention. The only question is what the next innovation in electric vehicle battery technology will be and how that will impact the market. It’s certainly hard to keep up with the accelerating pace of change. But we must keep up.
For every change, there are pros and cons to it. Now, let us digest some of the pros of EVs. First, money is saved due to lower running costs. With the coming of electric vehicles into the market, we will be able to save some budget that was spent a lot on petrol and diesel-based vehicles.The running cost of an electric vehicle is much lower than an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle. Electric vehicles use electricity to charge their batteries instead of using fossil fuels like petrol or diesel.
The electricity cost can be reduced further if charging is done with the help of renewable energy sources installed at home, such as solar panels. 2. Price increases under control.There is no effect of the price rise on essential commodities due to the fuel price, road blockade and bandh blockade. 3. EVs are environmentally friendly and will have the least impact on the environment due to zero carbon emissions, potentially saving us from health risks and global warming.4. Increased mileage. The cost of a litre of petrol is above Rs. 100 and may cover nearly 15-20 km, but the electricity that we may get from this Rs. 100 will get more mileage in EVs as compared to fuel-based vehicles. 5. Low maintenance cost.Electric vehicles have very low maintenance costs because they don’t have as many moving parts as an internal combustion vehicle. The servicing requirements for electric vehicles are less than the conventional petrol or diesel vehicles. Therefore, the yearly cost of running an electric vehicle is significantly lower. 6. Tax and financial benefits. Registration fees and road tax on purchasing electric vehicles are lower than for petrol or diesel vehicles. There are multiple policies and incentives offered by the government depending on which state we are in, like registration fee exemption, purchase incentives, coupons, interest subventions, road tax exemption, income tax benefit, scrapping incentives, and others  such as interest-free loans, top-up subsidies, special incentives on electric three-wheelers, etc. 7. No noise pollution.Electric vehicles have the capability of silent functioning as there is no engine under the hood. No engine means no noise. Electric vehicles are so silent that manufacturers have to add false sounds in order to make them safe for pedestrians. 8.The ease of charging at home. Imagine being at a busy fuel station during peak hours, and you are getting late to reach your workplace. These problems can easily be overcome with an electric vehicle. Simply charge your vehicle at home for 4-5 hours before you plan to leave. If you are able to get a charger where you park at home, it is very convenient to plan your journeys in advance. What if you forget to plug in your machine someday? Then you can easily take the help of fast chargers or even battery swapping services if you are on a two-wheeler on the road. 9. Electric vehicles are easy to drive and quiet. Electric vehicles don’t have gears and are very convenient to drive. There are no complicated controls, just accelerate, brake, and steer. 10. Since the EV runs on electricity, there will be no problem with fuel unavailability in remote hill areas. 11. No dependence on oil-producing countries such as the Arabs. Since EVs run on electricity that comes from local resources, countries will become self-reliant regarding transportation. 12. Reverse charging of battery. One of the significant good points of EVs is that the car itself charges its battery while running. We know that an EV runs on a battery. But when we drive an EV, we use the brake to disconnect the accelerator panel from the engine. At this time, the rotation of the car wheels makes the car dynamo rotate (through electromagnetic effect), producing electricity which in turn charges the car battery.
Before we proceed with any decision, we need to go through all its cons too. 1. Limited charging stations. The EV industry is growing rapidly, but it faces several challenges. In order to achieve its full potential, manufacturers will need to overcome the current lack of infrastructure for charging stations, supply-chain issues, and many other operational concerns that are currently holding back the industry’s growth. Public charging stations are not available in most places, and the charging process is very time-consuming. There is no standardisation across vehicle manufacturers, which leads to incompatibility between chargers and batteries. Depending on the state, these reduced charges range from Rs 5 to Rs 7. As a result, the cost of charging has decreased dramatically, and more EV charging infrastructure has been installed. However, there is still a long way to go until EV charging infrastructure catches up to the penetration of gas stations (over 78,000). 2.  High prices. As of now, EVs are very costly. The base model of an EV costs at least Rs. 14 lakh. A middle-class family can’t afford it. 3. Long-distance travel and charging time. Charging time is a big issue, especially for commercial users of electric vehicles. This may become a huge burden for emergency transportation like hospitalisation and exams. And also, what will happen if we travel a long route and the car discharges its battery?  But as the battery industry has made a lot of progress in driving range, battery cost, and weight reduction, innovations that reduce charging time are lagging. 4. Battery blast and electric shock. There is a high chance of EV batteries blasting due to overcharging, short circuits, high atmospheric temperature or using unrated charging points. Over and above, charging an EV during rain is dangerous. People fear charging their EVs in the rain because we all know that water is a great conductor of electricity. So, there is a high risk of being shocked by high current, voltage, or loose wire. Also, waterlogged areas are not safe for EVs either. 5. Environmental Consequences. When the batteries of EVs finish their life cycle of nearly 10 years, surely they will be thrown away, thereby affecting the environment’s eco-system from harmful carbon batteries. Are these EVs really climate-eco-friendly? We all know that petrol and diesel-based vehicles play a big role in global warming, triggering temperature rises through carbon emissions. But these EVs too need batteries made of metals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt that are derived after being mined from Earth’s crust rock. After they are used in cars, these carbon-based batteries will be disposed into the environment. We know how this story ends.  6. A large sum of money spent on replacing the old battery. The batteries used in EVs are not for lifetime. They have time and may expire after 8–12 years. Customers will face a significant financial burden in replacing their old batteries, which may cost up to Rs. 2-3 lakhs. 7. High risk of an accident. Since EVs are silent when driving, there is a chance of frequent accidents and road rage incidents because pedestrians may not notice the coming of EVs. 
Iam just expressing my opinions and claiming that what I say or express is right at all is completely wrong.No one is perfect and we learn from each other. As compared to its same model petrol or diesel-based vehicle counterpart, EVs are more costly by nearly 5–6 lakhs, and also, when the battery needs to be replaced after 8–10 years, the expenditure that is to be borne may be 2.5–3 lakhs. However, if we buy fuel-powered vehicles instead, the extra lakhs can be used to purchase petrol or diesel, and the vehicle can drive and last for 7-10 years.Child labour and human life abuses are prevalent in the mining and exploration of lithium, nickel, and cobalt from the earth to meet the metal demand for EV batteries, particularly in Congo. Much like the claim of EVs being clean, these cars run just like on dirty energy of blood batteries and this is not a climate solution. This is human rights abuse, and the two can’t coexist. A climate solution is not supposed to be at the expense of human lives. EVs have miles to go before they can claim to be cleaned.

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