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Challenges of Electric Vehicles

  • IASbaba
  • November 10, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

Challenges of Electric Vehicles

Context: Electric vehicles is considered as a major solution to a severe emissions problem but it is not without challenges.

Transport Sector & Emissions

  • The transport sector is responsible for almost a quarter of direct carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fuel. Of that, passenger cars account for 45%. 
  • Emissions goes beyond tailpipe exhaust: Every step of making a vehicle’s 20,000-30,000 parts, which involves a few thousand tonnes of aluminium, steel and other materials, produces emissions.

Issues with Electric Vehicles

  • Electric Vehicles may eventually solve the tailpipe-emission problem, they don’t address all the damage done to the environment while making them
  • Compared with traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, greenhouse gases released while making EVs account for a higher portion of life-cycle emissions.
  • As the EV gains momentum, battery production and research is powering ahead and sales are growing. That means material emissions will rise to over 60% by 2040 from 18% today.
  • Decarbonizing the production phase of a car is harder than the use phase
  • Currently battery units in EVs are heavy, increasing the total weight of the car, which in turn requires more energy to drive. To deal with this, carmakers are turning to aluminium for light-weight body designs, with EVs using 45% more of the Aluminium than traditional vehicles. Emissions from aluminium have started rising because it’s energy-intensive to mine and produce.
  • Companies try to make batteries that can take cars further, they are using nickel, cobalt and manganese, which generate still more greenhouse gases.
  • The high greenhouse gas emissions in the car manufacturing supply chain are “not even properly quantified by carmakers, because of poor disclosure of their suppliers’ emissions data

Way Forward

  • The best path forward starts with better disclosure on life-cycle emissions of EVs.
  • There is need to make better EV batteries, so as to get more energy into a smaller, lighter batteries. 
  • There is need for realistic solutions like battery recycling, prioritizing types that use less carbon-intensive materials, or emission caps on the battery and electric vehicle manufacturing process.

Connecting the dots:

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