Hybrid EVs present a big opportunity for economically developing countries for the transition to becoming net-zero.
What is net-zero for a vehicle?
- Net-zero for a vehicle includes emissions at both the tailpipe of the vehicle and at the power plant.
- Making vehicles net-zero requires cutting emissions from both new and existing vehicles.
Different types of EVs
What is EV?
Any vehicle propelled by an electric drivetrain, taking electric power from a portable, electrical energy source, is called an Electric vehicle (EV).
- In a hybrid EV, an internal combustion engine (ICE) is used to produce electricity with an electrical generator.
- A small battery, typically 1-5kWh, is used in a hybrid EV as an energy buffer to store the electricity.
- The battery can’t be charged from the grid.
- A full EV or a battery EV or a plug-in EV, has no ICE and hence no tailpipe emissions.
- The battery typically is much larger at 20-120 kWh.
- It can only be charged from the grid.
Plug-in hybrid EV:
- A plug-in hybrid EV is still a hybrid EV with a much larger battery, typically 5-15 kWh.
- This larger battery can also be charged from the grid.
- This means a plug-in hybrid operates like a fully electric vehicle as long as there is energy in the battery.
A fuel-cell EV uses a fuel cell to produce electricity for the drivetrain together with a small battery buffer to manage variations.
Challenges to transitioning to electric mobility
- A fast charging infrastructure:
- A successful transition to full EVs requires fast-charging infrastructure along highways.
- The lack of a fast-charging infrastructure will discourage people from buying full EVs.
- Fast-charging means power levels of 50-350 kW for cars and up to 1,000 kW for heavy-duty vehicles.
- Fast-charging will enable drivers to make long-distance trips using their EVs with 10-20-minute stops to gain ranges of 300-400 km.
No access to grid:
- Many parts of the world, especially economically developing nations, don’t yet have access to a grid or the grid isn’t 100% reliable.
- The relatively high charging power for slow-charging (<22kW) and fast-charging (<350kW) make the problem more prominent vis-à-vis generation and transmission capacities.
- This in turn could retard the transition to EVs.
- Mass-market price points of cars in the economically developing world are much lower, ~$12,000.
- EVs with a range of 300-400 km will reach parity with conventional vehicles in the richest countries at a price of $25,000-35,000 in the short term.
- This is due to the high battery cost.
- EVs with higher range will need larger battery packs and thus be more expensive
Way forward for Hybrid vehicles:
- The current focus in the industry is on full EVs, which isn’t practical for the immediate future, given grid reliability, state of highway charging infrastructure, and prohibitive vehicle costs.
- Hybrid EVs – either full or plug-in hybrids – present a big opportunity to lower emissions in
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB