The MD and CEO of Mercedes Benz India, Roland Folger, has said that electric vehicles could end up polluting more than petrol and diesel powered cars in India. He said this when asked whether electric vehicles are feasible. He noted that more than 50 % of the electricity produced in India comes from coal, which causes a lot of pollution. So, unless electricity comes from cleaner sources, electric cars will not necessarily pollute less than diesel and petrol powered cars.
Here is his statement,
My question is if it is even right to have an 100% electric fleet by 2030? Does the government know what is the best technical solution and if so how do they know? My biggest problem is that nobody knows how the electricity required by these vehicles is produced. We did a study where we looked at publicly available data on sources of electricity production in India. The energy mix shows that 50% is produced from coal, which is one of the cheapest and most polluting sources of power in the world. To power a 100km range-based car, you will end up polluting more by drawing power from these coal-based plants.
The government of India has set a target of making all vehicles in India run on electricity by 2030, just about 13 years from now. The government has already started procuring electric cars for its departments. It is also setting up electric vehicle recharging points around India.
A lot of car manufacturers have already announced plans to launch electric vehicles. Tata and Mahindra have already shown a few upcoming electric vehicles while Maruti – India’s largest car maker – plans to launch its first EV in 2020. India is currently struggling with a big air pollution problem, and electric vehicles are expected to reduce air pollution in a big way.