Mitigating Forthcoming Challenges

Research by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that an Electric Vehicle (EV) comes with a significantly lower total carbon output lifetime than a typical Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) powered vehicle. As electricity generation continues to get cleaner, this position can only improve over time. Early adoption of EV will make significant contribution in combating the issue of global warming and India is amongst the early movers for contributing to address the issue...

In India, driving Electric vehicle 2- wheeler (E2W) is increasingly becoming new craze amongst the youngsters with launch of new models especially in Tier-2 & 3 cities and in rural areas. E2W has especially caught the imagination of a large section of society, and it is evident from the growth rate which E2W segment has been witnessing in last couple of years. Interestingly E2W has seen multiple new players such as Ola, Okinawa, Hero Electric, Ampere, Ather etc., coming into the market with attractive value proposition.

Sale of the EVs

Nearly 7.3 lakh Electric Two-Wheelers (E2Ws) were sold in the country in FY23, which is 3X higher than the volume sold in FY22, according to Redseer’s electric mobility report. It is estimated that E2W penetration will surpass ~30% by the next three years and ~75% by 2030.

The success story of fast adoption in E2W is mainly due to low running cost, availability of vehicles above 100 km range, reduction in price, trendy features, ease of driving and many more. Given the fact that India is home to largest number of two wheelers in the world, E2W segment has got significant landscape to capture.

Electric 4- wheeler (E4W) segment is catching up the pace as most of the existing players have either launched EV or in process of launching the same in next 12 months. Maruti Suzuki, the market leader for four wheelers in India, is finally entering the EV market having its first launch in 2024-25. Hence, this market is going to be even more competitive and customer pocket friendly going forward.

Growth in sales volume

According to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA), the Year-on-Year (YoY) market share of electric passenger vehicles has doubled to 2.6% in March 2023, against 1.3% in March 2022.

A total of 8,566 electric passenger vehicles were sold in March 2023 as against 3,718 units sold a year earlier. In terms of Month-on-Month (MoM) sales, it has seen an 87.85% growth. During February this year, a total of 4,560 electric passenger vehicles were sold.

Sales of electric three-wheelers have seen an 82.21% YoY growth during March. A total of 45,229 electric three-wheelers were sold in March this year, against 24,823 units sold in March 2022. The market share of electric three-wheelers grew to 52.1% from 48.2% in March last year.

Sales of electric commercial vehicles have seen a 171.32% YoY growth during March 2023. A total of 350 electric commercial vehicles were sold in March this year, against 129 units sold in March last year. The market share of commercial electric vehicles grew to 0.38% from 0.15% in March last year.

Electrical infrastructure for EVs

Running cost of EV heavily favours it over ICE vehicles as it is at least 75% less costly. Initial cost of EV is also increasingly reducing the gap with ICE vehicles and options with higher range are also coming in the market.

However, the growth story of EV is heavily dependent on the strength and widespread presence of adequate electrical infrastructure along with availability of reliable, affordable and clean power. India is home to 4.7 Lac ckm of transmission lines (220 kV & above) yet significant investment would be required to strengthen last mile infrastructure for catering to charging requirement.

Charging requirement for E2W segment may be catered through captive chargers as it can be charged through 15A socket of 220 V, which is available at homes in general.

On the other hand, availability of public charging infrastructure is a critical for large scale adoption of E3W, E4W and electrical commercial vehicles.

Electrical chargers for E4V require 30-50 kW load, which is expected to further increase for reducing the charging time considerably. Every charging station is expected to have an electrical load up to 200 kW to 500 kW. The way various initiatives are being taken and increase the availability of public chargers; this will significantly increase the concentrated electrical load pockets. Regulatory commissions are fixing competitive tariffs for electricity used for the charging purpose and removing fixed charges for chargers.

Better availability of charging stations at workplaces, for example, could help to soak up peak power being produced at midday from solar power installations, which might otherwise go to waste because it is not economical to build enough battery or other storage capacity to save all of it for later in the day. Thus, workplace chargers can provide a double benefit, helping in reducing the evening peak load from EV charging and making use of the solar electricity output.

These initiatives will further require strengthening of electrical infrastructure at last mile.

Adverse technical impacts on stability of power grid

Voltage Instability and Phase Unbalance: EVs consume more power in a short time to fully charge the battery. Single-phase EVs chargers increase phase unbalance at the distribution network that increases unwanted negative effects on distribution network operation and connected loads. According to the study it is found that rural power distribution faces higher voltage drops and needs voltage regulation devices.

Harmonics Distortion: Electricity comes in AC form at 50 Hz frequency, but EV integration causes harmonics distortion (generation of a frequency other than 50 Hz of the fundamental frequency), which causes power loss. So, the transformer and cable get heated and this causes a decrease in components life.

These technical challenges are to be dealt with on priority to pave the way for eminent transition to EV.

Consumption in future

In India, on average, a household needs 5.7 kWh per day of electricity. So, a car having 40 kWh capacity battery consumes energy equal to 6-7 households alone. It is evident that going forward EVs are expected to account for much of the load on India’s power grid.

Hence, EVs are going to put severe pressure on generation of electricity through renewable sources as EV’s are good for reducing pollution in the place of its usage. However, emission done in generation of power at some other place is making it counterproductive from net emission perspective. On the other hand, hydrogen powered vehicles score significantly in terms of net emission perspective.


In a nut shell, concerted effort would be required on technological, regulatory, commercial domains for fulfilling the Indian government’s ambition to have EV sales accounting for 30% of private cars, 70% of commercial vehicles, and 80% of 2W and 3W by 2030 and Indian automobile industry is well on track to fulfill this ambition.

Abhishek Gupta, Head- International, Strategy, Project Evaluation & Assessment, Energy Efficiency Services Limited.

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