Electric Vehicle Technologies

Electric Vehicle Technologies

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Electric Vehicle Technologies”. The topic “Electric Vehicle Technologies” has relevance in the “Science and Technology” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

What is EV? What are different EV Technologies? 

For Mains:

GS3: Science and Technology- Indigenization and developing new technology

Why in the news?

As central and state governments chart the path to a net zero emissions future, the Electric Vehicle Push has been at the heart of the strategy. 

Electric Vehicle:

An electric vehicle (EV) is a type of vehicle that uses electricity as its primary source of power instead of relying on internal combustion engines that run on fossil fuels. EVs are propelled by electric motors, which are powered by rechargeable batteries. 

By eliminating the need for gasoline or diesel, electric vehicles offer a cleaner and more sustainable mode of transportation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV):

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that is powered solely by a battery pack. BEVs do not have a gasoline engine or any other form of internal combustion engine. Instead, they use the energy stored in the battery pack to power an electric motor, which turns the wheels.

Advantages of Battery Electric Vehicles:

  • Zero tailpipe emissions: BEVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, which can help to improve air quality.
  • Reduced noise pollution: BEVs are much quieter than gasoline-powered vehicles, which can make them more pleasant to drive and live near.
  • Lower operating costs: The cost of electricity is typically much lower than the cost of gasoline, which can save BEV owners money on fuel costs.
  • Increased efficiency: BEVs are more efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles, which means they can travel further on a single charge.

Issues with Battery Electric Vehicles:

  • Charging time: It can take several hours to fully charge a BEV, which can be inconvenient if one needs to charge the car quickly.
  • Cost: BEVs are still more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles. However, the cost of BEVs is expected to come down as the technology improves.
  • Charging infrastructure: The availability of public charging stations is still limited in some areas. This can be a problem for people who do not have access to a home charger.
  • Environmental impact of battery production: The production of BEV batteries requires the mining of raw materials, such as lithium and cobalt, which can have environmental impacts.
  • Disposal of battery waste: BEV batteries contain hazardous materials, so they must be disposed of properly.

India’s Electric Mobility Plan: 

  • India’s electric mobility plan is primarily focused on battery electric vehicles (BEVs) replacing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, with lithium-ion being the most viable battery option for the time being.
  • The main government subsidy for EVs in India is the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) India scheme
    • The FAME India scheme provides subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles, as well as for the installation of charging infrastructure.
  • In addition to the FAME India scheme, some states in India also offer their own subsidies for EVs. 

Issues with BEV Push: 

  • Upfront subsidy: 
      • State subsidies are crucial for promoting electric vehicle adoption, as seen in markets like Norway, the US, and China. 
      • These subsidies include tax breaks, access to bus lanes, toll road exemptions, and free parking with charging facilities. 
      • However, there is a concern that these subsidies primarily benefit the middle and upper middle classes and not the economically weaker sections.
  • Charging network: 
      • Investing in charging infrastructure has proven to be more effective in driving electric vehicle adoption than upfront purchase subsidies. 
      • Countries like Norway and China have seen rapid adoption by expanding public charging infrastructure. 
      • The number of electric vehicles (EVs) in India is increasing, but there is a shortage of public charging stations. 
      • This is especially concerning given the dominance of two- and three-wheelers in the market, with only about 2,000 public charging stations currently operational across the country.
  • Electricity source: 
      • In countries with successful EV adoption, a significant portion of electricity comes from renewable sources. 
      • However, in India, the grid is largely powered by coal-fired thermal plants, raising concerns about the environmental impact of EVs. While EVs can reduce tailpipe emissions, the pollution from thermal plants remains.
  • Value chain: 
    • India faces challenges in diversifying its dependency on lithium-ion batteries for EVs. 
    • The demand for such batteries is projected to increase, but over 90% of global lithium production is concentrated in a few countries- such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, China, Australia
    • This makes India heavily reliant on imports, which may limit its control over the supply chain and raise concerns about resource availability and viability.

New Technologies: 


  • A hybrid vehicle is a type of vehicle that uses two or more distinct types of power, such as an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. 
  • Hybrids offer improved fuel efficiency through the electrification of the powertrain.
  • They do not require a charging infrastructure base like battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
  • Hybrid vehicles facilitate the manufacture of the battery ecosystem, which can be leveraged for a BEV push.
  • Hybrid vehicles still rely on Li-ion batteries, which pose environmental concerns.



  • A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a type of hybrid vehicle that has a battery that can be plugged into an external power source to charge. 
  • The battery can power the vehicle for a limited distance, after which the gasoline engine kicks in. 
  • PHEVs offer the best of both worlds, as they can provide the benefits of an electric vehicle for short trips, while also having the range of a gasoline-powered vehicle for longer trips.


Ethanol & Flex Fuel

  • Flex fuel vehicles have internal combustion engines that can run on multiple types of fuel, such as petrol and ethanol.
  • A nationwide pilot is underway to deploy this technology in other markets like Brazil, Canada, and the US.



  • A fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is a type of electric vehicle that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity. The fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which powers an electric motor.
  • FCEVs are practically zero-emission vehicles.
  • The lack of fueling station infrastructure has hindered their widespread adoption.
  • FCEVs require dedicated hydrogen refuelling stations, which differ from conventional gasoline stations.
  • Safety concerns arise due to the pressurised and cryogenically stored hydrogen, which is then used to generate electricity through an electro-chemical reaction.


Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicles (Hydrogen ICE):

  • Hydrogen ICE vehicles resemble conventional internal combustion engine vehicles with modifications to run on hydrogen.
  • Certain engine components, such as the fuel delivery system and spark plugs, are modified to enable compatibility with hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen ICE vehicles are not zero-emission like FCEVs.


Synthetic Fuels such as Porsche’s eFuels:

  • Porsche is developing synthetic fuels that can make internal combustion engines as clean as electric vehicles.
  • eFuels are produced from carbon dioxide and hydrogen using renewable energy.
  • Porsche’s eFuels are currently being tested in Chile.
  • The goal is to make eFuels usable in all petrol-engine cars, making their use virtually CO2-neutral.
  • Synthetic fuel will be used in Formula One starting from 2026.


India’s push towards electric vehicles is a crucial step in achieving a net-zero emissions future. While there are challenges such as upfront subsidies, charging infrastructure, electricity sources, and diversifying the value chain, exploring alternative technologies like hybrids, flex fuels, FCEVs, and synthetic fuels can complement the transition to electric mobility and address specific concerns. 

A comprehensive strategy that addresses these challenges will be essential for India’s successful transition to a sustainable and cleaner transportation system.


The problem with battery electric vehicles | Explained News,The Indian Express

Yojna daily current affairs eng med 12yh July 2023


Q1. With reference to Electric Vehicle (EV) Technology, consider the following statements: 

  1. Increased efficiency
  2. Higher Capital costs
  3. Reduce Noise Pollution 
  4. Reduced maintenance costs

Which of the statements given above is/are advantages of EVs?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only 

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 

Answer: (c) 


Q2. Consider the following statements in context of Electric Vehicle (EV) Technology, 

  1. Fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) uses can run on multiple types of fuel, such as petrol and ethanol along with Battery pack.
  2. Hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are similar to conventional ICE vehicles, modified to run on hydrogen instead of gasoline or diesel.
  3. Hybrid vehicles typically do not need a charging infrastructure like battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

How many of the statements stated above are correct ?

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) Only three 

(d) None 

Answer: (a)

Q3. Discuss the challenges and prospects of India’s electric vehicle push in achieving a net-zero emissions future.

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