Electrifying Transportation for a Greener Tomorrow

The transportation sector is responsible for approximately one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions globally, with much of the sector relying on fossil fuels for energy. That is the weight of our everyday commutes, logistic operations, and cross-country journeys on our planet. Our highways are packed with the rumbling of fossil fuel-powered cars, buses, heavy-duty trucks, and passenger vehicles creating a trail of pollution and depleting resources.

However, in recent years, the shift in political thinking, societal awareness and calls for decarbonization have all culminated into electric mobility gaining traction. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), EV sales accounted for a record-breaking 13% of all vehicles sales in 2022. In China, EVs accounted for 27%of total vehicles sold; in Europe, they made up just over 20%. And in the US, sales of EVs increased to more than 7% of all vehicles.

All of this has come about because of government regulations mandating phase out of fossil-fuel powered vehicles (also known as internal combustion engine vehicles, or ‘ICE’), the passage of policies incentivizing EV adoption, commitment by global automakers to electrify their fleet and by utilities to develop EV charging infrastructure.

However, IEA reports that to get on track with the agency’s Net Zero by 2050 scenario, CO2 emissions from the transport sector must fall by more than 3% per year till 2030.

Need for Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Typical ICE vehicles emit greenhouse gases and particulates, endangering environment and human health and worsening climate impact. In 2022, global CO2 emissions from the transport sector grew by more than 250 million tons to about 8 gigatons, about 3% more than in 2021 (IEA).

Of this, passenger vehicles such as cars, buses, motorcycles, and taxis accounted for the largest share of emissions, while freight vehicles such as trucks and lorries were a close second, followed by aviation and shipping.

Therefore, the need to switch to cleaner alternatives has never been greater.

EVs have emerged as a viable alternative to ICE vehicles, promising zero tailpipe emissions, improved air quality, and little-to-no noise pollution. EVs come in a variety of configurations, including two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers and are not limited to personal automobiles; they can include heavy vehicles such as SUVs and buses, and even long-haul trucks.

Global Trends in EV Adoption

Global EV adoption continues to gain momentum. Within the EV segment, the electric cars market has witnessed an exponential growth, as improved range, expansive model availability and increased performance continues to attract customers. Moreover, SUVs and large cars dominated available electric car options in 2022 [IEA], accounting for 60% of available BEV options in China and Europe and an even greater share in the US. It is predicted that as spending and competition increases, a growing number of affordable EV models will come into the market.

By contrast, EV sales in emerging markets and developing economies are led by two-wheeler and three-wheelers segments. In India, for instance, more than half of three-wheeler registrations in 2022 were for electric models. Electric two-wheelers have also witnessed a boom, with big home-grown brands like Ather and Ola leading the charge. In emerging markets, it is the rising sales of electric two- and three-wheelers that has helped push demand for electrification of other segments such as cars and buses.

World over, nearly 66,000 e-buses and 60,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks were sold last year, representing about 4.5% of all bus sales and 1.2% of truck sales. In several countries, where reliance on public transport is greater, we see governments have committed to reduce emissions from public transport in densely populated urban areas. For example, in Finland, e-bus sales constituted over 65% of total sales in 2022.

At present, there is a growing ambition to electrify heavy-duty vehicles. According to IEA, in 2022, around 220 electric heavy-duty vehicle models entered the market. Further, 27 governments so far have pledged to achieve 100% ZEV (zero emission vehicle) bus and truck sales by 2040 and both the US and European Union have also proposed stronger emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles. 

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Are Power Grids Ready for the EV Boom?

As we stare at a radically different future of transportation, concerns have been raised whether our power grids can handle millions of new EVs coming online each year.

Further, electrification of vehicles can only be an effective decarbonization solution if it is combined with a major build-out of renewable energy.

Experts have maintained that global power grids are capable of supporting electricity to handle a future demand of transportation electrification. But this calls for major changes to the grid, with utilities taking the necessary steps and putting in place processes and programs will enable this transition.

A report addressing this concern with respect to US markets noted that significant investments will have to be made in grid infrastructure upgrades to meet the EV boom. This includes high-voltage transmission lines to transport electricity from rural wind and solar power plants to demand centers, smaller distribution lines and transformers for last-mile electricity delivery, and hardware such as inverters that allow customers with home batteries, EVs and solar panels to feed excess energy back into the grid.

The Princeton ZERO Lab’s REPEAT project estimates the landmark Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has the potential to cut emissions by about 1 billion tons by 2030. The caveat? Transmission infrastructure development needs to grow more than double its historical growth rate of 1% per year, else more than 80% of these reductions could be lost.

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At present, efforts are underway in several countries including the US to expedite energy infrastructure build-out, develop smart grids and energy efficiency, and improve vehicle charging time for large EV fleets.

Apart from utilities, automakers are also increasingly equipping their EVs with bidirectional charging capability, thus allowing customers to use their giant EV battery packs to power their homes or provide electricity back to the grid, just like a regular home battery system. This is known as Vehicle-to-Grid or V2G technology.

Ford F-150 Lightning and Nissan Leaf already provide this functionality. Experts suggest the Vehicle-to-Grid system represents a major step forward in the development of electric mobility and smart energy management solutions. 

Additionally, continuous R&D and innovations on EV batteries have resulted in major breakthroughs and development of innovative battery technologies such as next-generation lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion and zinc-ion batteries and this trend is expected to continue. These innovations in battery technologies are enabling faster adoption of EVs by extending EV range and reducing charge time. Moreover, the global growth of fast-charging networks is easing concerns pertaining to range anxiety and eliminating downtime.

Currently, the development of solid-state batteries — which use solid electrolytes instead of liquid or gel-based electrolytes making them safer, efficient, and durable — has been hailed as one of the most promising innovations in EV battery technology. In the future, better, more powerful batteries are expected to drive the adoption of electric cars.


Electric Vehicles (EVs) are going to play a vital role in the transition to a greener and sustainable future. However, with record-breaking number of EVs coming online each year, it will be crucial that automakers, utilities, and battery manufacturing, and R&D community continue to explore new ways to charge EVs with renewable energy sources, decarbonize EV battery supply chain, and develop battery technologies that enables faster charging with lesser environmental footprint.

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How do electric vehicles help in sustainable development?

Ans: Electric vehicles (EVs) make major contributions to sustainable development through a variety of means. For instance, they significantly reduce carbon emissions, thus reducing air pollution and helping minimise climate change.

EVs save important resources and minimise energy usage due to their improved energy efficiency. Economically, EVs provide benefits such as lower fuel costs, job development, and a growing market.

Furthermore, the EV ecosystem stimulates technical innovation, accelerating cleaner and greener mobility options for a more sustainable future.

How eco-friendly are electric cars?

Ans: EVs emit around 50% less carbon dioxide per kilometre driven. Additionally, EVs keep air cleaner by emitting no tailpipe emissions, lowering dangerous pollutants, and improving air quality.

How do green vehicles contribute to sustainable transport?

Ans: Green vehicles contribute significantly to sustainable transportation by lowering emissions and resource usage. EVs release 50-60% fewer greenhouse gases than traditional petrol vehicles. Hybrid vehicles reduce fuel consumption by 20-35%. These improvements improve air quality, reduce pollution, and pave the way for a cleaner, greener transportation future.

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