ELEC­TRIC FU­TURE

Evo India - - ED SPEAK - SIRISH CHAN­DRAN @SirishChan­dran [email protected]­ub­lish­ing.com

I WAS ONE OF YOU. I LAUGHED AT THE IDEA OF elec­tric cars. I’m not driv­ing this rub­bish was my stan­dard re­sponse when the rare oc­ca­sion to test an elec­tric ve­hi­cle arose. But over the past few months, I’ve come to the re­al­i­sa­tion that the fu­ture re­ally is elec­tric. I don’t mean the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine will be dead in the next decade, rather, for city mo­bil­ity as ev­ery­day run­abouts, elec­tric cars will soon be the de­fault choice.

Where’s the in­fra­struc­ture, you ask?

I asked the same ques­tion when the power min­is­ter made his am­bi­tious claim – that In­dia will only sell elec­tric ve­hi­cles by 2030. Of course Mr Min­is­ter is be­ing over-op­ti­mistic. Lon­don has a target of 2040! But don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the abil­ity of us In­di­ans to get things done when they need get­ting done!

In­fra­struc­ture. What’s the big chal­lenge? You have a des­ig­nated park­ing slot, do you not? Do you re­ally think putting a charg­ing sta­tion (just a fancy look­ing plug point) and lay­ing ca­bles to your so­ci­ety me­ter box will be that big a prob­lem when the Supreme Court says it has to be done?

Power sup­ply. With many of our states be­com­ing power sur­plus, the real is­sue is with the power dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies that some heavy-handed govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion can sort out.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal cost of re­cy­cling bat­ter­ies? Umm, I don’t know. The fact that you’re tak­ing pol­lu­tion out of the cities and putting it in vil­lages where there are coal pow­ered sta­tions? Okay chill, this is a car mag­a­zine, not an NGO news­let­ter!

It is a com­pli­cated is­sue, no doubt, and the real pol­luters will con­tinue to be the ships and planes criss-cross­ing the globe. But cars have al­ways been the favourite whip­ping boys and car com­pa­nies can­not be seen as adding to res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases among our chil­dren. And that’s why ev­ery single car com­pany will have electrics. Proper electrics, not like the ones we have to­day. With bat­tery tech­nol­ogy ad­vanc­ing so rapidly, is­sues of range and charg­ing times will be non-is­sues. As vol­umes go up so do costs, so even if the govern­ment can’t make up its mind on in­cen­tives, the cost of elec­tric cars will not go any­where but south. And, as ever, mo­tor­sport is at the fore­front with tech de­vel­oped at race­tracks fil­ter­ing down to cars like Re­nault’s 454bhp elec­tric Zoe (page 120), en­sur­ing we won’t get bored out of our minds driv­ing elec­tric cars.

Af­ter all, be hon­est, do you de­rive great plea­sure out of lis­ten­ing to your diesel en­gine clat­ter­ing away in traf­fic, or do you crank up Ap­ple Mu­sic and wish you were some­place else fill­ing your lungs with oxy­gen?

‘Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the abil­ity of us In­di­ans to get things done when they need get­ting done’

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