Electric vehicles are the need of the hour and any mention of alternate fuel vehicles triggers a discussion about the adoption of electric vehicles over traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. The automotive industry is increasingly focussing on reducing greenhouse emissions and this explains the high focus on battery electric vehicles globally.
Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, said the global environmental concerns are far too serious to be ignored and added that time has come to initiate serious action towards creating environmentally-friendly mobility solutions. “Our planet is in danger and the automotive industry is part of the problem – the transportation section accounts for 14 % of the global greenhouse emissions, and we collectively need to address this emission reduction issue,” he said.
Knaap stated that the acceptance of e-mobility among consumers is increasing continuously. “There are quite a few alternate fuel technologies to explore, but battery electric vehicles appear to be the first choice and the most cost-effective solution to reduce Co2 emissions. OEMs are gradually adopting new energy solutions and e-mobility is rapidly moving from being niche towards a mainstream product,” he noted.
He shared his perspective about how electric vehicles have made deeper inroads Europe, especially in Norway. “Norway has been leading by example – 60 % of new cars bought in Norway are EVs and substantial tax incentives offered in the country has enabled a lower purchase price. The German Federal government has set a goal of 1 million EVs by 2020 and 1 million charge points by 2030 and has earmarked € 300 million towards expanding charging infrastructure.”
China is another market where EVs are a big draw. “The year 2018 saw most number of EVs sold in China than in the rest of the world combined. The Chinese government has been extremely proactive towards reducing emissions and has spent around $ 60 billion over the last decade to build the EV sector,” Knapp noted.
The company has created an independent EV platform - Modular Electric Matrix (MEB) platform – it has infused an investment of around $ 40 billion to develop this platform. “The Modular Electric Matrix (MEB) platform addresses all the key challenges facing EVs such as range anxiety, charging infrastructure and total cost of ownership,” he pointed out.
Knapp stressed the need for a stable policy framework. “The government must come up a stable policy framework with precise solutions and gestation periods. There is also a requirement to focus on recycle and reuse of batteries.”