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Battery Electric Vehicles in India, Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Prelims: Li-ion battery, Gasoline, Internal Combustion Engine
  • GS3: Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

What is the full form of BEV?

BEVs known as Battery-electric vehicles don’t use any gasoline but instead run solely on electricity stored in a battery pack that energizes one or more electric motors and produces zero tailpipe emissions. These cars can be charged almost anywhere, anytime, and usually at a much lower cost than fueling with gasoline.

Incentives on BEVs :

Currently, the Centre offers clear tax incentives for primarily one category of cars, with practically all other vehicular technological platforms clubbed together towards the upper end of the tax bracket. India’s electric mobility plan is largely focussed on battery electric vehicles (BEVs) replacing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, with Li-ion seen as the most viable battery option for now.


  • The BEV experience across markets from Norway to the US and China shows the electric push works only if it is backed by state subsidies.
  • An elaborate system of incentives is central to Norway’s EV policy, which has fostered the world’s most advanced EV market.
  • The government waives the high taxes it imposes on sales of non-electrics, it lets electric cars run in bus lanes, toll roads are free for them, and parking lots offer a free charge.

Issues in Battery Electric Vehicles

SUBSIDY under Battery Electric Vehicles:

  • The problem with this overt subsidization of EVs, especially in the context of developing nations like India, is that much of the subsidy, especially the one offered as tax breaks for cars, end up in the hands of the middle or upper middle classes, who are typically the buyers of battery electric four-wheelers.

Charging Networks for Battery Electric Vehicles:

  • A World Bank analysis found that investing in charging infrastructure is 4-7 times more effective in EV adoption than providing upfront purchase subsidies.
  • Norway and China have seen faster EV adoption through sustained efforts at expanding the public charging infrastructure, while also offering purchase subsidies.
  • China, the leader in the number of publicly available chargers, accounts for 85% of global fast chargers and 55% of slow chargers.
  • In India, the number of EVs had crossed 1 million by mid-2022, and will likely grow to 45-50 million by 2030. But only about 2,000 public charging stations are currently operational across the country.
  • Also, India’s charging infrastructure demands, according to KPMG’s ‘Electric vehicle charging — the next big opportunity report, are unique because the vehicle mix is dominated by two- and three-wheelers
  • The charging network strategy has to be tweaked, given that the power requirement varies — 2Ws and 3Ws have small, low-voltage batteries for which normal AC power charging is adequate, while 4Ws have varied battery sizes and use different charging standards.
  • Single-phase AC chargers are suitable for cars with single-phase onboard chargers, while three-phase AC chargers are required for cars with larger onboard chargers.
  • Buses, on the other hand, have large batteries and high power requirements, which makes DC fast charging the most suitable.
  • Most e-2W and 3W models in India are suited to slow charging, and battery swapping is emerging as an alternative for cases where fast charging is required.

Battery Electric Vehicles – Electricity Source

  • In several countries that have pushed EVs, much of the electricity is generated from renewables — Norway has 99% hydroelectric power. In India, the grid is still fed largely by coal-fired thermal plants.
  • Unless the generation mix changes significantly, India would be using fossil fuel generation to power EVs
  • Theoretically, at least, this would mean reduced tailpipe emissions in the cities, but continuing pollution from the running of the thermal plant. There is the advantage of substitution of oil imports, though.

VALUE CHAIN for Battery Electric Vehicles:

  • As India struggles to make inroads into the global lithium value chain, there is a discussion on the need to diversify the country’s dependency on Li-ion batteries in the EV mix.
  • The demand for Li-ion batteries from India is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 30% by volume up to 2030, which translates to more than 50,000 tonnes of lithium requirement for the country to manufacture EV batteries alone.
  • But more than 90% of the global Li production is concentrated in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia alongside Australia and China, and other key inputs such as cobalt and nickel are mined in the Congo and Indonesia
  • India would, therefore, be almost entirely dependent on imports from a small pool of countries to cater to its demand. While other options to Li-ion are being explored, viability remains a key factor.

Battery Electric Vehicles – New technologies


  • Hybrid technology is seen as a good intermediate step toward achieving the all-electric goal. Hybrids typically have improved fuel efficiency through electrification of the powertrain, but do not require the charging infrastructure base that is essential for BEVs
  • However, hybrids too have the issue of Li-ion batteries being the main source, even though the self-charging mode obviates the need for charging points.
  • There are also questions about hybrids achieving their famed fuel efficiency claims when the air conditioner is active for most of the drive, as is typically the case in many parts of India for much of the year.


  • A flex fuel, or flexible fuel, vehicle has an internal combustion engine, but unlike a regular petrol or diesel vehicle, it can run on more than one type of fuel or even a mixture of fuels such as petrol and ethanol.
  • A nationwide pilot that is currently underway aims to replicate the commercial deployment of this technology in other markets such as Brazil, Canada, and the US.


  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are practically zero-emission, but a major hurdle to their adoption has been the lack of fuelling station infrastructure
  • even though fuel cell cars refuel in a way that is similar to conventional cars, they cannot use the same station
  • Safety is also a concern. Hydrogen is pressurized and stored in a cryogenic tank, from there, it is fed to a lower-pressure cell and put through an electrochemical reaction to generate electricity.
  • Hydrogen ICE vehicles are similar to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, with a few tweaks to prepare them to run on hydrogen
  • Hydrogen ICE vehicles are similar to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, with a few tweaks to prepare them to run on hydrogen


  • German manufacturer Porsche is developing a synthetic fuel that it says can make an internal combustion engine as clean as an EV
  • Porsche’s fuels are made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen and are produced using renewable energy. The fuel production is being tested in Chile.
  • The idea is to make this usable in all petrol-engine cars, rendering their use virtually CO2-neutral, and thereby giving ICE cars a fresh lease of life. Incidentally, Formula One will use synthetic fuel from 2026.

Conclusion of Battery Electric Vehicles

Battery-electric vehicles are at the heart of the government’s push for net zero. However, what has worked for Norway and China may not be as successful in India’s peculiar conditions. While there is little debate that electrification is the future, the roadmap remains unclear.

Practice Question of Battery Electric Vehicles:

  1. Consider the following statements regarding Electric Vehicles.
  1. Hydrogen fuel cell-run electric vehicles are bulkier than a vehicle running on a Lithium-ion battery pack.
  2. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles take more time to charge than EVs running on Lithium-ion batteries.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 & 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans. A

  • Statement 1 is correct. Because hydrogen has a poor volumetric energy density, storing enough onboard poses weight, volume, kinetics, safety and cost challenges. Hydrogen can only be stored under high pressure, at extremely low temperatures as a liquid, or in metal hydride systems to maximise volumetric energy density.
  • Statement 2 is incorrect. A typical electric automobile can be fully charged in slightly over six hours, whereas an FCEV could be refuelled in five minutes and have a range of more than 350 miles. A modest amount of hydrogen can go a long way.

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Hey there! I'm Nikesh, a content writer at Adda247. I specialize in creating informative content focused on UPSC and State PSC exams. Join me as we unravel the complexities of these exams and turn aspirations into achievements together!

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