Electric and hybrid vehicle production is receiving a very large boost in India courtesy of their national government. Just over $4 billion will be invested in green vehicles over the next eight years. The goal is to have six million environmentally-friendly vehicles in operation by 2020. At least two-thirds of the six million is anticipated to be new, cleaner motorcycles and scooters. Older two-wheel vehicles with two-stroke engines are prevalent and they produce very large amounts of air pollution. According to one source, a two-stroke engine can produce as much air pollution as 30 or more four-stroke engines.
India’s air pollution has been found by recent research studies to be worse than China’s. Air pollution has become enough of a problem individuals in Delhi caught driving vehicles without documents showing their pollution levels are at acceptable levels can be fined 1,000 rupees or 2,000 for a second offense. In Delhi approximately 1,200 new cars are added to the roads each day.
Even with government support, there is potential for disappointment due to the simple fact many consumers still can’t afford the extra cost for an electric or hybrid vehicle. Some of the cheap vehicles that people typically can afford have been documented to be air pollution sources, and many Indian cities have high air pollution levels. So from the standpoint of reducing pollution it may be sensible to try and replace the most polluting ‘vintage’ vehicles with new low-emission ones.
Advocates of public transportation may not be at all impressed with plans to produced more personal vehicles, even if they are ‘green’. The amount of congestion resulting from the practice and mentality of everyone driving their own vehicle is obviously an important issue for a number of reasons. If the rate of traffic is extremely slow because of a vast number of vehicles, it makes travel in very large cities nearly impossible. Under and over ground electrified rail systems can move commuters more efficiently and can rely on power plants situated outside of the most densely populated areas.
In conjunction with the EV and hybrid vehicle push, the Indian government is trying to quickly ramp up clean energy production to help bolster their national electrical grid, due to a massive power outage in July. The goal is 3,000 MW in the next several years.