EVs more harmful, more expensive in the long run as compared to ICE and Hybrid cars: IIT-K study

To promote cleaner transportation, Governments should tax hybrid vehicles at par with electric vehicles

  • IIT Kanpur study shows that EVs contribute to more greenhouse gas emissions and are more expensive to own 
  • EVs depend heavily on coal-generated electricity, which causes high levels of CO2 emissions
  • Hybrid cars are more efficient and least polluting, but are expensive to purchase due to higher taxes and no incentives, as per the study

A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT) Kanpur, has now challenged the popular belief that EVs are the most eco-friendly mode of private transportation. The study also suggests that in the long term, the purchase, insurance and maintenance of EVs are costlier. The study also suggests that hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are the most eco-friendly vehicles. This new development comes courtesy of Prof Avinash Agarwal and his team at IIT Kanpur and a Japanese organisation.

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Hybrid Electric Vehicles most eco-friendly: Study

The new study conducted at IIT Kanpur compares the overall environmental impact of electric vehicles (EVs) or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) – powered cars. Professor Avinash Agarwal, who conducted the study along with a Japanese organisation, comments that a conventional ICE-powered car is cheaper than an EV while HEVs are more eco-friendly. Prof Agarwal however states that EVs could be beneficial for taxi or fleet operators.

The study was approached by dividing it into three categories – two foreign categories and one Indian category to calculate the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of vehicles. The study then found that BEVs emit 15-50 per cent more greenhouse gases across various different categories when compared to a conventional ICE-powered vehicle. One major contributor to this emission is the source of the electricity that is used to charge up a BEV. India derives a majority chunk of its energy from coal which contributes massively to CO2 emissions. BEVs also turn out to be 15-60 percent more expensive to run per kilometre when aspects like long-term, purchase, insurance and maintenance are factored in.

BEVs turn out to be the most harmful of all three segments of cars but are however being promoted by the government through lower taxes and other benefits to the buyers. Hybrid vehicles emit the least amount of GHGs in the comparison set and are also 1.5 to 2 times more efficient than conventional ICE cars. However, the HEVs are the most expensive of the lot and are subject to heavy taxation.