Most new passenger vehicles in 2050 will be electric: Study

Experts say that investments in the EV ecosystem, to enhance the charging infrastructure and expand the local supply chain development, would help convince customers to adopt EVs over traditional vehicles

July 22, 2022 08:59 pm | Updated 10:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Electric two­wheelers at a recent expo in Bengaluru.

Electric two­wheelers at a recent expo in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: K. Gopinathan

Electric passenger vehicles could comprise 30%-75% of the new vehicle sales in India by 2030 and 2050 respectively, according to a study by Delhi-headquartered think tank, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). Close to half of the new two-wheelers and over a quarter of new three- and four-wheelers sold in 2030, the study projects, could be electric. Therefore, Centre and state governments would need to invest significantly more in charging infrastructure and support local supply chain development to support this rapid growth in electric vehicle sales.

CEEW’s ‘India Transport Energy Outlook’, as the study is called, underlined that in the next three decades, ownership of four-wheelers could grow by nine times. The ownership of two-wheelers though would saturate with rising income levels. The overwhelming shift to four-wheelers, aided by rising income levels, would significantly impact the transport sector’s energy demand and emissions. At present, India’s transport sector accounts for around 21% of the total energy consumed and produces fewer emissions compared to developed countries.

“Our policymakers should prioritise investing in developing local supply chains and charging networks for electric vehicles and create policies that would encourage adoption of public transport. At the same time, India should also seek global partnerships to develop an ecosystem to promote research and development for green hydrogen in the transport sector”Vaibhav ChaturvediFellow, Council on Energy, Environment and Water

“Energy demand from India’s transport sector is set to grow manifold over the next 30 years, in line with the expected rise in the per capita income. Therefore, decarbonising the transport sector, especially the hard-to-abate aviation sector and long-distance freight transport, is crucial for India’s short and long-term climate goals,” Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Fellow, CEEW, said in a statement, adding, “Our policymakers should prioritise investing in developing local supply chains and charging networks for electric vehicles and create policies that would encourage adoption of public transport. At the same time, India should also seek global partnerships to develop an ecosystem to promote research and development for green hydrogen in the transport sector.”

The CEEW study also highlighted that a decline in the share of public transport due to a surge in ownership of private vehicles and rapid growth in air travel would pose significant challenges to India’s efforts to decarbonise the transport sector.

“India is poised to witness rapid urbanisation in the coming decades and demand for houses in the cities is likely to grow substantially by 2050. With increased pressure on land as a resource, restricting ownership and use of personal vehicles would be necessary. To avoid a surge in energy demand and space from the transport sector, policymakers should encourage adoption of public transport, especially in major cities with high penetration of personal vehicles. Further, investments in the EV ecosystem would help convince customers to replace their traditional vehicles with EVs,” added Himani Jain, Senior Programme Lead, CEEW.

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