The EV Dichotomy

Following a recent visit to India, I came away with several pertinent climate and energy observations.

Traffic in major cities, such as Delhi and Mumbai, is very difficult.

Air quality is bad.  In the morning, visibility from my hotel room window was generally less than one mile.  While some improvement developed during the day, the overall level of air quality remained low.

There seems to be a movement, particularly in the larger cities, towards dual fuel systems for automobiles, with natural gas as the primary fuel, and gasoline as a backup.  While natural gas is a fossil fuel, it is far cleaner than gasoline or diesel.

Coal is the most important component in India’s energy mix.  About 70% of India’s electricity is generated in coal-fired thermal-energy plants.  Approximately 45 years ago, India’s coal mining was nationalized.  Now, due in part to strong demand for electric power and stretched coal supplies, the government is considering opening coal to private sector miners.

Given India’s dependence on coal-fired electric generating capacity, if you live in India and buy an EV (electric vehicle), are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA