New Delhi: Electric vehicles powered with cent per cent renewable energy can help save close to Rs 40,000 in fuel cost annually — four times more than what was estimated earlier, says a new report.The report, ‘Help Delhi Breathe’, by Bengaluru-based finance research firm Equitorials called on government-appointed think tank Niti Aayog to ensure that 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030 are powered by renewable energy.”The cost of solar and wind energy in India has hit a tipping point: it is now significantly cheaper than coal-based power. This makes renewable energy the smart financial choice for India as it pursues the transition to electric vehicles,” Equitorials Managing Partner Jai Sharda told IANS.”Our analysis indicates that the expected further fall in the cost of solar and wind power by 2030, as well as the complete substitution of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle sales by electrical vehicles, could help India substitute oil imports of nearly $28 billion,” Sharda said.India stands on the edge of being the global leader in the move to electric vehicles. The country can lead other countries in the fight against climate change and the scourge of air pollution by writing it into policy that the power behind the switch to electric vehicles comes from renewable energy sources rather than old thermal power plants.India’s current 100 per cent electrical vehicles by 2030 plans have not integrated phase-wise renewable energy capacity additions specifically for electric vehicles.In the absence of renewable energy targets for electrical vehicles, environmentalists fear the extra load on the grid will fall on coal-powered thermal plants, resulting in increased emissions.This is not the moment to allow the emissions to shift from cars to old-school thermal power plants, all future plans need to work in tandem, and not in conflict with India’s ambitious renewable energy targets.”Powering electrical vehicles with coal would be counterproductive and would lead to transferring of emissions from tailpipes to smoke stacks. Urban and rural areas adjourning coal power plants clusters would be inundated with pollution while politicians in Delhi and Bengaluru would claim victory over air pollution,” Reecha Upadhyay, coordinator of Help Delhi Breathe, said.NITI Aayog is currently holding a public consultation on their proposed ambitious policy on electric vehicles that ends on January 31.”Niti Aayog’s report in May of 2017 projected that India can save around Rs 4 lakh crore by rapidly adopting electric vehicles. However, the transitioning to electric vehicles is not as simple as it sounds,” said Amit Bhatt, Director of Integrated Transport with the World Resource Institute.”Merely looking at vehicle production and charging stations won’t ensure a smooth and constructive transition. The plan needs a roadmap that would include key issues surrounding incumbent ecosystem, energy storage and rise of renewables. Of course, the benefits will far overweigh the pain of this transition,” Bhatt said.The report ‘Help Delhi Breathe’ has made a strong call to make sure that any policy on electric vehicles is linked to the equally ambitious policies on renewable energy to ensure that the transformation of transport and energy is connected.
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