A study by Berkeley Lab shows that India has the potential to become the world leader in electric vehicles production. The research underlines that making the transition from diesel-fuelled trucks to electric-charged will enable the country to meet the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2070.
Conducted in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), here are key takeaways from the report-
1. India – already one of the world’s largest automobile producers and exporters – has all the necessary institutional infrastructure to begin transitioning to electric trucks and become a world leader in the next decade or so.
2. Vehicle and automotive parts account for 4% of India’s exports, and its automotive industry has successfully managed challenges such as adapting to stringent emissions limits.
3. Electrification of truck fleets will enable fleet owners to insulate themselves against fuel price volatility.
4. Large fleet owners can mitigate fuel price risk by purchasing fixed-price contracts for renewable electricity, as utilities now do through 25-year fixed-price power purchase agreements.
5. Simple calculations suggest that, at the current average grid emissions intensity for India, BETs reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of freight by 9% to 35% across different classes of trucks when compared to diesel in addition to eliminating air pollution along highways and congested areas.
6. Nevertheless, as is often the case for infant industries that promise external benefits (reduce pollution and create knowledge spillovers), sustained policy support will be needed for the BET industry if it is to attain commercial viability.
7. Achieving minimum scale will only occur after a long maturation phase, during which electric trucks may entail both higher upfront cost and total cost of ownership relative to diesel trucks."
The report notes that complementing the existing Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme will be critical for creating certainty for investors and the economies of scale needed to stimulate a positive feedback cycle of higher deployment and lower costs. Based on India’s current grid emissions, electric trucks would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to nine percent from 35 percent per kilometer compared with diesel trucks, the report said.
STAY TUNED for Part 2 of this article for the projected rate of growth in vehicles and freight movement, aggregate missions that can be expected to rise sharply even under the most optimistic scenarios of improved fuel economy in the heavy-duty fleet in India.