2023 GS3 Answer

Q. The adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing worldwide. How do electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and what are the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS3 Paper

Model Answer: 

Electric Vehicles and their Contribution to Reducing Carbon Emissions

Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly gaining popularity in India and around the world due to their potential to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. As the Indian government pushes towards a more sustainable future with initiatives like the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, the adoption of EVs is expected to rise significantly.

Here are some ways electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles:

Reducing Carbon Emissions

1. Zero Tailpipe Emissions: Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions. Unlike conventional vehicles that burn fossil fuels and emit harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, EVs run on electricity and do not produce any exhaust emissions. This can significantly reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions, especially in urban areas.

2. Energy Efficient: Electric vehicles are approximately 80-90% efficient in converting energy to power, compared to only 20-30% efficiency in internal combustion engine vehicles. This higher efficiency leads to less energy consumption, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.

3. Renewable Energy Integration: As India continues to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, electric vehicles can be charged using this clean energy, further reducing their carbon emissions. For instance, Tata Power, one of India’s largest integrated power companies, is setting up EV charging stations powered by solar energy.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

4. Lower Operating Costs: Electric vehicles are cheaper to run. Electricity is less expensive than petrol or diesel, and EVs are more efficient in terms of energy use. Moreover, with fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles, EVs generally require less maintenance, reducing the overall operating costs.

5. Government Incentives: The Indian government provides various incentives for electric vehicles under the FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme, such as subsidies on purchase prices and tax reductions, making them more affordable for consumers.

6. Improved Public Health: By reducing air pollution, electric vehicles can significantly improve public health. According to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research, air pollution contributed to over 1.2 million deaths in India in 2017.

7. Noise Pollution Reduction: Electric vehicles are much quieter than conventional vehicles, which helps reduce noise pollution. This is particularly beneficial in densely populated urban areas.

8. Energy Security: By reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels, electric vehicles can enhance India’s energy security. India currently imports around 80% of its oil needs, which makes it vulnerable to price fluctuations in the global oil market.

Conclusion

Electric vehicles have the potential to revolutionize transportation in India, offering a more sustainable and cleaner alternative to traditional combustion engine vehicles. They can significantly reduce carbon emissions, improve public health, decrease operating costs, and enhance energy security. With supportive government policies and growing public awareness about climate change, the future of electric vehicles in India looks promising.

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