Tuesday, April 23, 2024

EVs in state: Challenges remain


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Guinness world-record holder Sushil Reddy traverses through Meghalaya’s
hilly terrain on his e-vehicle

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 28: The future is electric, and taking a step in this direction, Meghalaya formulated its Electric Vehicle Policy in 2021, aiming to electrify 15 per cent of its vehicular fleet, embracing the promise of cleaner and more efficient transportation. However, hiccups remain, especially with the shaky power sector and the challenging hilly terrains, and whether electric vehicles can navigate them.
Amidst lofty ambitions lie formidable challenges, echoing the sentiments of Sushil Reddy, an alumnus of IIT Bombay and HEC Paris, who embarked on a journey to demystify EVs and their viability for long-distance travel. Reddy, who started his journey from Mumbai, has covered over 3,000 kilometres so far this time. A Guinness world-record holder, Reddy earlier completed the journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, thereby debunking myths about EVs’ inability to sustain extreme temperatures and terrains.
However, a significant gap hindering consumers from immediately shifting to EVs is the cost parity between a diesel or petrol car and an EV, where an electric vehicle is almost 40-50 per cent more expensive than the former.
“I believe that within the next 5 years, the cost parity between EVs and traditional vehicles will be achieved,” Reddy told The Shillong Times, underlining the economic advantages of electric mobility. With EVs boasting up to 90% efficiency compared to their fossil fuel counterparts, the allure of reduced running costs and environmental benefits beckons a transition towards sustainable transportation.
Reddy’s journey is not just about covering distances but also about building bridges between policymakers and EV users in the face of skepticism and infrastructure gaps.
However, in power deficit states like Meghalaya, where basic access to power remains a concern, the prospect of charging electric vehicles becomes a luxury amid pressing needs. Moreover, the journey towards electrification is fraught with challenges unique to mountainous regions. The specter of range anxiety looms large, exacerbated by the scarcity of charging stations and the erratic supply of electricity. Reddy’s observations resonate with the realities faced on the ground.
“Predicting range in hilly areas can be tricky,” he admits, highlighting the uphill battle for EV adoption amidst terrain uncertainties and infrastructure inadequacies.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are not just symbols of modernity; they are heralds of change in regions where the rugged landscape meets the aspirations of a greener tomorrow, believes Reddy, and for states like Meghalaya, where the brunt of climate change would be evident, first, EV’s can be one right step towards holding the looming danger for a longer time.
Reflecting on the impact this movement has created, Reddy added that on his journey, he visits universities, and 80 percent of the universities he has visited have added a curriculum about e-mobility.


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