“Necessity is the mother of invention” – Plato; a strong message that captures the true essence of technological innovation.
When talking of innovation, we imagine a very standard term that’s used mostly as a conversation filler in today’s world. Starting from smartphones, to laptops, tablets, software, so on and so forth, innovation today is driven by the economic “want” of a comfortable existence itself. Humans prefer inertia and the compelling changes brought upon by climate change have invoked evolution in how transportation takes place. This is where EV’s come in.
EVs are older than common knowledge accounts for. Practical EVs came into being around 1890s. One of these vehicles even held the Vehicular Land Speed Award till 1900. However, in comparison to combustible engines in the early 20th century, EVs took a backseat owing to shorter travel range, high costs, and low top speed.
As the green revolution slowly lost its vigour, the climate change debate rekindled the global-need for drastic measures to reach sustainability goals. EVs filled this gap like a jigsaw piece, thereby becoming the brand ambassador of a better future. However, innovation knows no bounds, and we’re moving to the next-level.
A brimming example of this would be Reliance Industries acquiring an unknown UK startup – Faradion at the year’s start, for their proprietary sodium-ion batteries. Compared to the standard Lithium ion batteries, the present better safety characteristics while not compromising on output. Even though the difference may seem marginal, it is all but essential.
“The present is theirs, the future, for which I really worked, is mine”, Nikola Tesla. Thus, moving to the next level means pushing our boundaries harder and harder. Another example that resonates with this message is the massive impact of Adani Green Energy that’s pioneering renewable energy to transform India. The conglomerate has already invested 12 billion USD and is set to invest an additional 20 billion USD in the next 10 years.
With upcoming technologies like Vehicle to Grid (V2G) systems, Wireless EV charging, wireless charging, ultra-fast charge capacity, etc., the cascade of innovation in this industry encompasses the quintessence of Charles Koch – the visionary pioneering the movement against climate change.
“People should only profit to the extent they make other people’s lives better”, Charles Koch.
India as a country reels in disparity, confined within today’s uncertain global economic climate. Koch’s fundamental ideology resonates with every fibre of India being more than ever. With Chinese control over 70% of the world’s Lithium and Cobalt deposits, despite a lack of national reserves, beckons India to leap towards sodium-ion. Similar to fire for humanity, the sodium ion is a beacon of light in dark times for Atmanirbhar Bharat. Consolidation of desired raw materials and rapid industrialization need to be the centre point of our journey into a sustainable future. A recent purchase made by Reliance Industries of a Sodium battery maker for $136 million bolsters the morale that India might just emerge as the dark horse in the battle against climate change.
Using the wit of apex bodies like the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), standardising this technological opportunity that presents itself at a key time, can be the pivot Make in India needs. Adoption of rigorous policies to stratify manufacturing processes and safeguard consumer security can help us adopt sodium-ion technology in a manner that propels India to become a global leader for clean and renewable energy.
The impact of sodium ion batteries will be similar to what Android did to the OS market – put power in the hands of the masses.
“The society in which people enjoy supreme power, is the true repository of freedom”, Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Keynote innovations linked to the prospect of EVs involve the development of bidirectional charging. It catapults the position of today’s EVs into a movable energy asset that can work wonders for the country’s grid management. Pioneering this technology brings forth the dream of lighting up every house in the country, even at the most energy deficient and difficult to reach locations. A future where electricity can be stored in movable vehicles to be reused, can save us from the plight of man-made calamities like the grid collapse we witnessed in the North and East in 2020.
Along with this, talks of battery swapping technology is a very desi way to manage efficiency effectively. However, until standardisation and certification are achieved for the same, it may be a very tough beast to tame. Bringing in a system of common battery sizes based on vehicle class and uniform connectors is the key to unlocking the true potential of this system. Companies like Oye Rickshaw are leveraging this technology to create ample stakeholder value. Bolstering it on a national scale with the insightful interventions is most essential to prosperity.
Thus, the EV sector contains a goliath’s potential worth harvesting. To propel Make in India and make Bharat Atmanirbhar, a focussed approach that stratifies, integrates, and unifies next-level technological innovation, placing power in the hands of the common man, is more necessary than ever now.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE