Hybrid vs Electric Vehicles

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Source-This post on Hybrid vs Electric Vehicles has been created based on the article “Should not EVs and Hybrids be treated equally for govt. Subsidies?” Published in “The Hindu” on 21 June 20204.

UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3– Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth.

Context– The article provides an overview of the debate surrounding electric and hybrid vehicles in India.

The International Energy Agency notes that India’s road transport sector contributes about 12% of the country’s CO2 emissions. Which makes it the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after energy and agriculture.

Since 2015, the government has been working on reducing carbon emissions through initiatives such as FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles).

It started with incentives for electric and hybrid vehicles, but the policy has gradually shifted away from supporting hybrids and now emphasizes electric vehicles (EVs).

What are the arguments in favor of adoption of hybrid vehicles?

1) Little attention is paid to hybrid trucks, even though freight trucks, which make up only 5% of vehicles, contribute 34% of emissions. Hybrids in passenger cars offer 25-30% better fuel efficiency compared to internal combustion engines (ICE), despite being less common in the market.

2) Hybrids have smaller battery packs and slightly higher total ownership costs because of tax differences, although they are currently taxed more than ICE vehicles.

3) Hybrids tend to have the least environmental impact among the ICE and Electric vehicle options.

What are the arguments against the adoption of Electric Vehicle?

1)In India, more than 75% of electricity is generated from coal, which causes emissions when charging EVs. When assessing policies for ICE, hybrids, and EVs, it’s important to carefully consider their impact on reducing emissions.

2) Examining lifecycle emissions (LCA), kilometer usage, production, mining, recycling, and total cost of ownership (TCO) reveals that electric vehicles often emit more than both ICE vehicles and hybrids in many instances. In India, the focus mainly remains on emissions and costs during the usage phase, with less attention given to factors like battery replacement costs.

3) Sourcing raw materials such as cobalt, nickel, and lithium for battery electric vehicles poses challenges.

Read more- Adoption of EVs: Challenges and Solutions

What should be the way forward?

1) There is a need to adopt a balanced approach in the context of the shift towards cleaner grids and promoting the electrification of transport.

2) Enhancements in efficiency of electric vehicles (EVs) should be recognized, and policies should be adopted that accommodate technological advancements and shifts in industry sectors.

3) FAME 3 policies should treat hybrids equally for subsidies to support a range of technological solutions aimed at achieving zero-emission objectives.

Question for practice

What are the reasons supporting the adoption of hybrid vehicles? What are the reasons opposing the adoption of Electric Vehicles?

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