An expert in Mechanical engineering with 10+ years of experience in the auto industry sharing the vision of EVs & the automobile future.
The Electric Cars' journey began in the 1800s, with the discovery of the first crude electric carriage, motorized by non-rechargeable primary cells. England was quickest to grant patents for the usage of rails as conductors of electronic current followed by America. Though it was America where mass production of EVs began in the 1900s demand declined specifically due to the rise in gasoline vehicle development. General Motors became the first in 1996 to mass manufacture EV1 electric car. Only in the 2000s, resilient electric cars could be seen in Norway, Andorra, USA, and many other countries significantly.
The Electric bikes’ journey began in the 1895s, but couldn’t achieve commercial success until the 20th century where the development of Nickel-cadmium batteries, hydrazine fuel cells came into existence. In 1996, Peugeot electric scooter was manufactured in masses with a range of 40 KM. In 2006, Vectrix launched a commercially electric scooter VX-1. By the 2010s many folks built and made Guinness records of the fastest electric motorcycle one after the other followed by Zero Motorcycles, Time Trial Xtreme Grand Prix – for electric motorcycles only. By 2021s Electro force cycle debuted in a segment in the US with Jennifer Northern becoming the first woman to do so. VinFast introduced four electric scooters with lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Ather Energy from India launched its first product and all-electric bike Ather 450. Almost every bike manufacturer has started its E-bike version. But there exist certain challenges to make it viable while maintaining the speed and durability of batteries.
- Electric cars age: Electric vehicle batteries last upto 10 years which should be replaced later. Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, hero have developed hydrogen fuel cells based 125cc scooters. Similarly, In cars currently E-car life is demarcated by its batteries which last for 8 years or 1,00,000 Miles like Nissan, Tesla, replacement subsequently would be a little costly. The Probability of enhancing battery life would happen around the 2040s with technological advancement.
- Battery Charge Technology & Cost: Electric bikes are charged with a high level-2 CHAdeMO charger, the fastest charging method for electric vehicles. While the battery swapping concept is under the experimental phase by zero motorcycles and new competitors in electric vehicles. Also, Dynamic charging technologies are tested in Sweden through overhead/underneath/ on-road rails against halting and swapping batteries. Comparatively, In India, As of February 2021, Ampere E-bike running cost is Rs. 0.15/KM, for EV cars comes around Rs 1/ KM while in Australia, UBCO battery-electric motorcycle running cost is 0.88/KM. In a single charge, Hyundai Kona electric covers a maximum distance of 452 KM among other competitive cars in India as of April 2021.
- Charging Time: The time taken to charge in full capacity takes longer than conventional petrol-gasoline bikes which make it less feasible and unattractive to bike lovers. Zero S ZF13.0 takes a little over two hours to charge its 13.0 kWh battery. Whereas a typical 60 KWh electric car battery takes around 8 hours to get fully charged with a 7KW charging cable. Well, you definitely can’t wait on charging stations for so long. While quick charge takes approximately 1-2 hours in cars but that deteriorates lifespan.
- Charging stations and infrastructure: Major challenges arise here currently, not many charging stations are developed to ramp up the buying interest. Lack of infrastructure development making it impracticable & unprofitable no less than by 2025. Consumption of electricity will rise on switching to EVs which is another challenging task.
- Tax Exemption & Subsidy: To encourage masses into EVs government shall provide tax exemption to manufacturers and purchasers, eliminating customs duties on important parts like motor, batteries, and controller. Certain waiver of surcharges in electricity. Indian government plans to provide subsidies on hybrid and electric vehicles up to Rs.1,50,000 for cars & Rs.50,000 for bikes.
- Maintenance: E-cars & E-bikes have almost negligible maintenance with a vehicle carrying the battery, motor, and controller only. Compared to conventional petrol/diesel/gasoline vehicles where it requires oiling, rusting, tires, disc brakes, and other consumables. Subsequently, Electric vehicles with regenerative braking have longer brake pad life.
- Manufacturing cost: The average cost of building an electric vehicle is 45% more compared to a fuel-burning car even though the running cost of EVs is low comparatively. The expensive part is the battery and the costly element named cathode in it. CATL has promised to develop long-live batteries which last 20,00,000 KM or 16 years compared to 8 years today.
- Recycle of parts: Though parts are limited and major parts can be recycled. Utmost care of batteries should be marked safely as direct disposal is not permitted and though lithium-ion batteries are recyclable 80% including lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel, reusing them in new batteries. The Electric motors, power electronics, and metal components of EVs are reusable with only a few minor metals that can’t be extracted and reused.
- EV Revolution & Future: To attract crowds various motorsports are organized to name a few for E-bikes are TT Zero, FIM eRoad Racing World Cup, MiniMoto SX Energy Crisiscross, eMotoRacing, and MotoE World cup. As per Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s analysis, 58% of sales of passenger cars would arrive from electric cars by the 2040s. Vehicles sales over the next 3 decades will rise to 60% globally and about 40% of on-road cars would be electric by 2050s as analyzed by IHS Markit, according to NYTimes. EVs are predicted to capture at least 31% of cars of market share with 67% government buses, 47% two-wheelers, and 24% light commercial vehicles. For Sure one can say next the 25 years would mark switches into EVs and CNGs from petrol & diesel fuels to a lot of extents thereby reducing pollution enormously. Improved batteries and their management would be the key to enhance EV growth. Also, Integrating components and batteries into the chassis shall reduce the production cost by more than 5% to make it viable. According to a Niti Aayog report, India will need 50 GWh of energy by 2025 to meet EV demands which is another major challenge. Expect waiver of import/export duties to make parts less costly further reducing production cost. With such promises and development in technology, Unquestionably EV’s the future soon.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Hiren V