Are hybrids a more practical alternative to pure electric vehicles? Is there merit in considering hybridisation as an intermediate solution in the country’s drive towards electrification of vehicles? Should there be clear policies that promote co-existence of multiple mobility solutions rather than focussing on one?
For years now, industry stakeholders and policymakers have been swarmed with questions like these. In an attempt to assuage their concerns and to find realistic answers to possible future solutions, the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) recently conducted technical assessments on various xEVs and released a related report at the just concluded first edition of NuGen Mobility Summit. The basic objective of the study was to make assessments and build awareness about affordable and energy-efficient mobility solutions.
Energy security is the prime driver for electrification in India, followed by carbon emissions and local pollution. However, the study found that awareness about electrified technologies in the country is limited. While India must learn from experiences of other countries, the report also suggested that India requires India-specific, practical and feasible solutions focussing on local resources, as adopting global solutions alone may not help in achieving our objectives. The report recommends supporting of xEV technologies and promoting alternate fuels, which will yield much higher fuel and carbon savings.
For the study, hybrid vehicles and equivalent ICE vehicles were evaluated under similar conditions. Three test methods were chosen for the purpose, which included a notified vehicle emission test method under the Modified Indian Driving Cycle (MIDC, conducted in lab on chassis dynamometer); demonstration on track under MIDC, urban phase conducted on test track and real world simulation under the Indian Real Drive Emission (IRDE) route, which was conducted on public roads in real traffic conditions.
The overall results are quite encouraging as HEVs were found to be more fuel efficient that ICEs, while CO2 emissions were recorded to be 30-50 % lesser in HEVs. Other pollutants, including CO, HC, NOx were found to be 60-80 % lower with regards to ICEs’ BS VI limits. It was also found that the predominant mode of energy in HEVs was electric, where e-drive was observed in ~ 60 % of the time in MIDC testing.
In our January 2020 edition – incidentally, our 8th anniversary edition – we’ll work on bringing a detailed analysis of the study, but ICAT’s HEV econometric report clearly highlights the need and potential of hybridisation in the Indian context, even as the country moves towards finding long-lasting EV solutions.
DEEPANGSHU DEV SARMAH
December 2019, New Delhi