[Editorial Analysis] New-age mobility

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Electric vehicles
Mains level: Improving transport system with sustainable development

Context:

• Electric mobility is a definitive way to retain this pristine air without compromising functionality.

• Continuing with the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles with the same alacrity as in the past may never enable us to see AQI of about 50 in Delhi and Mumbai.

• A shift to electric mobility is imminent and long overdue in India just as the trends show for Europe, the UK, China and other countries.

Initiatives towards promoting electric vehicles:

• There were indications of this shift at the recently concluded Delhi Auto Expo 2020.

• Electric vehicles were the most photographed or Instagrammed stars of the show. A range of electric buses, commercial vehicles, cars, e-scooters and e-bikes were on display.

• Electric buses are making an appearance in large cities, stimulated by the incentives available to municipal bodies.

• People find the idea of an electric bus sans noise and pollution almost magical.

What is preventing electric cars from becoming the preferred option?

• The most cited reason is the lack of charging infrastructure.

• Our obligation to the Paris Agreement may fall short unless we make the transition to electric—big and swift.

• We do have public chargers in most large cities in India. That’s because worldwide everyone charges their electric cars at home.

• Recharging an electric vehicle is unlike refuelling an ICE car. It’s a fundamental behavioural change that needs to sink in.

• The electric cars we buy come bundled with a home charging kit. It’s like your own private petrol pump.

• The charger is installed next to the location where you park your car, whether your apartment is in a high-rise or an independent house. When we come back from work, plug the charger into our car and relax.

• Our car will be charged in a few hours. New-generation electric cars in India have a real-world driving range of 275-375 km. And if your commute is largely within your city, you are completely sorted for the week.

• A smart home charger can be controlled through a mobile app. This means you can switch the charger on and off from your living room and don’t need to physically reach out to the charging spot or the car.

• The app also gives you the current state of charge, cost, range, ability to charge with discounted off-peak rates (if offered by your discom), total monthly consumption, etc.

• Public chargers are typically required for emergency top-ups or intercity journeys.

• Similarly, if we run low on charge within the city, we may find a public charger at a mall, a municipal public parking lot, a supermarket or even our workplace.

• Operators like Tata Power, Fortum, etc, are putting up rapid chargers along highways, at malls, residential complexes, public parking lots, commercial complexes, etc.

• However, setting up ubiquitous charging infrastructure needs collaboration between the automakers, utilities, end-users or the community and government agencies—supported by a policy framework.

What can we do to make a difference now?

Take an electric cab or bus:

• Electric buses are being deployed on many routes these days by almost all city transport bodies. Similarly, there are a lot of options for e-cabs in all the big cities—Evera Cabs, BluSmart, Glyd, Lithium, Ryds, Meru and others. We will be comfortable, cocooned in silence and, more importantly, emission-free and guilt-free.

Encourage charging infrastructure:

• Ask your municipality, organisation or RWA to put an EV charger in your premises. Have conversations with people who matter, the corporators, municipal officials, the society/RWA committee, etc.

• A potential buyer will be comforted to see a charger in the vicinity and this can swing her buying decision.

Drive an EV:

• We have some gorgeous EVs in India, and more are waiting in the wings. Promise to buy an electric car as your next purchase. There are a lot of incentives like deeply discounted or free registration, free toll, free parking or similar such.

• Furthermore, an electric car is so much fun to drive—thrilling linear torque, no gears, noiseless operation, etc. Top that with low cost of running, low maintenance, low cost of ownership, and you have a winner on your hands.

Conclusion:

• When we do buy an electric car. We have made a responsible choice.

• We are driving with the ultimate badge of honour a green number plate. If the people around don’t thank ourselves enough, Mother Nature will.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Labour laws, consider the following statements:

1. UP has suspended the application of almost all labour laws in the state for the next three years including the Minimum Wages Act.

2. The subject of ‘Labour’ falls in the State list.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What is preventing electric cars from becoming the preferred option? What are the suggestions can we do to make a difference now?

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