Solar energy: The perfect match for EVs

EVs and Solar as a supporting source of electricity

What is an EV? EV stands for electric vehicle. A fully electric EV runs on a rechargeable battery that powers an electric motor.

An EV does not need any petrol or diesel. It has no clutch, gears, spark plugs and emits no exhaust. There are only around 20 moving parts in an electric engine compared to nearly 2000 in an ICE (internal combustion engine). This results in very low maintenance compared to a fossil fuel powered vehicle.

Recently there has been much hype around EVs what with the Indian government pledging to replace all petrol and diesel cars with EVs by 2030.

Though it is an ambitious plan, getting the supporting infrastructure up and running will be a major challenge. Besides, one more aspect and that too a very important one is whether the switch over to EVs is really serving the purpose for which they were basically put on the roads? Yes, we are discussing about whether the switch over to EVs will actually make a difference in emissions, whether it will help in reducing air pollution?

It will definitely help in reducing India’s oil import bill to a great extent but is an electric vehicle as green as it is supposed to be? Well, the answer lies in the fact that an EV will only be as green as the electricity it runs on.

For instance, lets take the example of a country like Norway. It’s EVs are the cleanest in the world, as 98% of its electricity is sourced from hydropower, a form of renewable energy.

64% of India’s electricity is produced by means of conventional sources like coal, diesel etc., 2% from nuclear and 34% from renewable sources. Out of 34% of renewables, the share of solar consists of 6.9%. Large- and small-scale hydro, wind and biomass make up for the rest.

With only a small share of power sourcing coming from renewables, and electrification of mobility gathering steam in the near future, the potential impact of EVs on electricity cannot be ruled out. What will happen when the share of EVs gradually increases in the future? Will it serve the purpose of a clean energy revolution if the EVs will be charged by electricity generated through conventional forms?

Solar is the only answer which will justify the zero-emission purpose of embracing EVs. Why particularly solar and not wind or other renewables?

Solar PV technology is the only form of renewable which can be heavily decentralized or dispersed by way of installing small scale solar power plants. A dispersed energy system consisting of a small-scale power plant will put the power source closer to the end user, reducing transmission and distribution inefficiencies and most importantly relieving the impact of extra loading on the grid. It will offer dual benefits of reducing emissions by adopting EVs as a means of transport and reducing fossil fuel use, thereby increasing eco-efficiency.With the gradually decreasing prices of solar and new break-throughs in PV technology coupled with better and more effective storage systems with improved efficiencies and decreasing costs, we will be witnessing a huge disruption in the automobile industry. Solar will be the perfect matching partner for EVs and the future is bright for an EV market integrated with Solar PV.