Opinion: ‘Atmanirbhar’ alternatives to electric mobility!By Avik Chattopadhyay

The spark

On February one, 2021, following the budget presentation, on remaining asked by a tv reporter why there was no mention of electrical mobility, Nitin Gadkari, the Union Road Transportation and Highways Minister, made an interesting remark. “The region requires to discover far more self-sufficient and self-reliant strategies of powering mobility to minimize our dependence on imports!”

This was significant and 1 requires to read involving the strains specifically if 1 couples the Nationwide Hydrogen Mission [NHM] that was announced by the Finance Minister.

On February 8, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy advised the media that the draft of NHM will be completely ready in two months. Hyperlink this with the point that Delhi inducted Hydrogen-CNG buses in its fleet in Oct 2020.

Quick ahead a handful of weeks, and on February 23, the Indian Car LPG Coalition [the marketplace body of automobile LPG stakeholders] impressed upon the government to promote a handful of alternative clear electricity alternatives for mobility alternatively than concentrate only on electrical. The complete electrical power grid failure in Texas a handful of days in the past due to the freak snowstorm experienced brought all electrical mobility to a standstill and was a apparent demonstration of what they intended.

The knock

So, is India’s honeymoon with electrical mobility over? Have we already realised that the dodgy electrical power supply condition even in metro cities and the over-dependence on coal for manufacturing electric power is not so ‘clean’ following all?

Methanol, CNG, Bio-CNG and Hydrogen are the 4 alternative electricity alternatives to concentrate on, in tandem with electrical, alongside with the typical fossil fuels which can not be wished absent at the very least for the subsequent 15-20 years.~

We are lacking the large announcements from the central government for some time now. It is as if the missionary zeal has been handed over to the states in this relay race. Ten states have already announced their electrical mobility policies with Delhi surely hogging the limelight with its Swap Delhi initiative. A few or 4 other states have their draft programs completely ready.The honeymoon is continue to on. Glimpse at the buzz close to Tesla coming to India, as if it is heading to emancipate the country. Professionals are self-confident that it will enhance the relevance of electrical mobility as the 1 and only solution for India.

I feel that is a quite slim check out of a sustainable electricity solution for a region as wide, diverse, and opinionated as ours. India requires many electricity alternatives, operating at the exact same time, complementary and cross-contributing. Stand-on your own alternatives will not work any longer. It can not be only fossil fuels for 100 and only electrical for the subsequent 100. We require to work out our one of a kind ‘Atmanirbhar’ blend of electricity programs for addressing all sorts of mobility, suitable from the motorised vegetable cart to the luxury inter-condition bus.

Opinion: ‘Atmanirbhar’ alternatives to electric mobility!The place

The twin aims are apparent – make improvements to our electricity protection, and make improvements to our atmosphere.

The element of ‘energy security’ is very important as it has implications on import of fossil fuels currently and any other uncooked materials or input tomorrow, such as lithium and cobalt. A single can not basically substitute 1 with the other. Safety indicates relying on domestic resources of electricity and uncooked supplies for the exact same as a great deal as probable.

Of the shut to 250 million metric tonnes of gas made use of for highway mobility, only close to 17% is from domestic manufacturing. Diesel would make up close to 70% of full consumption, petrol close to 20% and the rest is included by CNG and so on. Road transport accounts for 60% of all diesel eaten, followed by agriculture at 18%. Two-wheelers consume 60% of petrol.

In the exact same vein, bettering atmosphere, precisely air top quality, implies that not only need to the vehicles be as inexperienced as probable but also the strategies to create the electricity that propels them.

Incorporate the relentless increase in gas prices over the previous 24 months and 1 can not but appear at a sustainable and balanced blend of electricity options.

India will require one of a kind and appropriate electricity alternatives to electrical power it into a 5-trillion greenback economic climate by 2025. Mobility will be central to this accomplishment, and without a balanced and even handed blend we could possibly be left lamenting even in 2031!~

So, I arrived at out to a handful of domain industry experts from assume-tanks, oil companies, tech research institutions, and automakers, to absorb their views on what an ideal solution can be. I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm with which they shared their convictions on the way ahead, each and every remaining fully commited to the place. All that I share from now is a culmination of their inputs, and some desk research I did, to get there at my stage of check out.

The route[s]

The nineteenth century mystic saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa experienced stated in Bengali, “Joto mot, toto poth” which indicates, “Many views, numerous paths” implying that all routes will guide to 1 universal truth.

Similarly, there are many electricity alternatives for India’s mobility, each and every aiming at bettering electricity protection and the atmosphere.

I shall not speak about electrical in this article, as a great deal has been written extolling its virtues. I shall appear at six choices. The parameters I shall use for assessing them are: –

·Easy availability of uncooked materials / inputs

·Ease of transportation and storage


·Environment-pleasant for each manufacturing and consumption – ‘well-to-wheel’

·Economic viability

·Compatibility with the present car parc


Bio-ethanol is an liquor-centered electricity fluid generated from sugar-centered bio-mass [like sugarcane, sorghum, and sweet beet] and starch containing goods [like corn and cassava]. In India shut to ninety eight% of ethanol is generated employing sugarcane and molasses. From 2008 the government has permitted petrol to be blended with ten% ethanol [E10] with the goal to go up to 20% by 2030 [E20].

Even so, manufacturing by the oil companies has been a great deal decrease due to the conflict with “food security”. Transportation has also been an challenge with committed pipelines not nevertheless in area.Even if it is appropriate with present 2-wheelers [2Ws] and passenger vehicles [PVs], pan-India availability of uncooked materials has been a continual restricting issue to looking at this alternative take centre-phase.


Very similar to ethanol, methanol is a different liquor-centered electricity fluid generated from bio-mass, organic gas, coal and cellulose. This gas has solid assist from some essential assume-tanks such as NITI Aayog, according to some resources. A 3% blend is remaining attempted on petrol-run 2Ws and PVs. Tests have proven that methanol leads to excessive corrosion in present engines remaining made use of. Adopting methanol would require modifications in each motor elements as nicely gas dispensing stations. India does not have as well a great deal of organic gas and coal is not the cleanest of resources [as in electric power]. Provided its corrosive nature, transporting, and storing methanol will need certain investments.

Previous 7 days, a crew from College of Illinois, Chicago, wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences that it has been ready to change methane in organic gas into liquid methanol at home temperature. This definitely has made technologists sit up in pleasure!


Bio-diesel is a gas generated from non-edible oils, acid oils, made use of cooking oils, animal body fat and so on. From 2015, close to 5% has been blended with high-pace diesel. Even though completely appropriate with all present PVs and business vehicles [CVs], lack of regular feedstock supply and its speedy degradation when stored for a prolonged time has not found its level of popularity increase in spite of the economics remaining obviously in its favour.


CNG is a gaseous electricity not new to all of us readers. There are an approximated 3 million vehicles operating on CNG preserving virtually 3% of fossil fuels. The goal is to have 20 million CNG vehicles by 2030 centered on an boost in dispensing community from the measly 1700 stations [vis-à-vis fifty five,000 for petrol + diesel] to ten,000.

Automakers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are betting large on CNG as tomorrow’s gas.


Bio-CNG is a purified biogas,with houses related to CNG. It is generated from biomass, agricultural residues, food stuff squander, animal dung and sewage water. It can be dispensed from the exact same outlets that carry CNG. As a gaseous electricity this has remarkable probable provided its all-India footprint, masking the rural areas quite nicely and compatibility with present 2Ws, PVs, 3-wheelers and light business vehicles.

I did not invest a great deal time on LNG as we will have to import it and that is counter to the essential goal. So, to the previous of the choices.


Hydrogen is a serious challenger to the electrical juggernaut. Hydrogen is a zero-carbon gas which on combustion in typical IC engines, immediately or blended with petrol or CNG, leaves guiding only water as a residue. It has the greatest electricity articles of all gases at 120.seven kilojoules/gram. Most of hydrogen is sourced from hydrocarbons employing organic gas reforming or electrolysis of water. Even so, there are other resources like nuclear electrical power, biomass, photo voltaic and wind.

It comes in 3 kinds – gray [from fossil fuels], blue [from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage] and inexperienced [from renewable resources].

The planet already has 3 Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles on sale – Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo and Honda Clarity. Evidence of notion has already took place. In India, Mahindra and Bajaj have brought hydrogen-run 3-wheelers. At an 18% blend with CNG, H-CNG results in being a quite excellent selection and is remaining analyzed effectively. IndianOil and NTPC are operating pilot assignments as are pretty a handful of engineering institutes throughout the region.

The government has set aside INR twenty five crore for R&D as section of the NHM. It is a pittance but at the very least some beneficial intent has been proven. The 5 concentrate areas for the NHM are R&D, demand development, industrial application, building the eco-process and global partnerships.

Hydrogen does have its Achilles heel in the present cost of manufacturing and troubles with storage. What then, 5 years in the past cost was an challenge with the lithium-ion battery as well!

Listed here is my analysis of the six choices on the parameters I have mentioned higher than:

Opinion: ‘Atmanirbhar’ alternatives to electric mobility!Source –individual analysis centered on exterior inputs & research

My evaluation claims that Methanol, CNG, Bio-CNG and Hydrogen are the 4 alternate electricity alternatives to concentrate on, in tandem with electrical, alongside with the typical fossil fuels which can not just be wished absent at the very least for the subsequent 15-20 years.

Provided the country’s wide sorts of motorised vehicles in operation and regional variations, there requires to be at the very least 3 options accessible to any particular person at any location in this region, such as the typical fuels.

The vehicles

Two-wheelers have to change to bio-ethanol, ethanol or electrical. They use up 60% of petrol and this dependence has to be brought down swiftly. There need to be a program to shift to E1100 or M100.

A few-wheelers are already operating on CNG and electrical alongside with diesel and petrol. The use of CNG, Bio-CNG and electrical has to increase. Methanol can also be explored, provided the substantial quantities and programs.

Passenger vehicles will also use a blend of options dependent on use for community and non-public transport. All community transport need to shift to CNG / Bio-CNG / hydrogen / electrical. All non-public vehicles need to step by step change to bio-diesel / hydrogen / electrical.

Buses, of all lengths and programs need to shift to CNG / Bio-CNG / H-CNG / electrical.

Mild business vehicles need to go on with CNG and also undertake Bio-CNG / H-CNG / electrical.

Medium and weighty business vehicles need to step by step transition to bio-diesel. Hydrogen can also be explored by some producers in the prolonged-run. The Hyundai Xcient gas cell truck is already in business manufacturing. Nikola, Toyota, and Kenworth are checking out the exact same.

Rural transport, be it persons or goods, will hugely profit from each bio-diesel and bio-CNG alternatives, specifically the latter.

If I had been to crystal-ball gaze into the transition over this 10 years, this is what it could appear like:

Opinion: ‘Atmanirbhar’ alternatives to electric mobility!Source –individual analysis centered on exterior inputs & research

To conclude, India will require one of a kind and appropriate electricity alternatives to electrical power it into a 5-trillion greenback economic climate by 2025. Mobility will be central to this accomplishment and without a balanced and even handed blend, we could possibly be left lamenting even in 2031!

(The creator is co-creator of Expereal India. Also, he is former head of advertising and marketing, item arranging and PR at Volkswagen India.)

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are entirely of the creator and ETAuto.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETAuto.com shall not be dependable for any hurt triggered to any man or woman/organisation immediately or indirectly.)