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Hybrid Vehicles: Key to India’s Mid-term Decarbonization, Report Suggests

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The report stated that hybrids are essential both for reducing ownership costs and for advancing India’s decarbonisation efforts.

According to a detailed analysis by HSBC Global Research, hybrid vehicles emerge as a vital interim solution in India’s journey towards comprehensive electrification, especially in the context of the nation’s decarbonization efforts. The report highlights that, under the prevailing conditions, the overall carbon footprint of hybrid cars, accounting for the entire cycle from production to operation (well to wheel), is currently lower compared to electric vehicles (EVs). This situation is projected to change over a period of 7-10 years, a timeframe in which the emissions from EVs and hybrids are expected to align.

The significance of hybrids extends beyond mere cost considerations; they play a crucial role in India’s decarbonization objectives. The report points out that hybrids are substantially less polluting than EVs. Specifically, it notes that the total carbon emissions, encompassing both the vehicle emissions (tank to wheel) and the upstream emissions from energy production or fuel extraction and processing (well to tank), are lower for hybrids. To quantify, the emissions from an electric vehicle are 158 grams per kilometre (g/km), compared to 201 g/km for diesel, 176 g/km for petrol, and just 133 g/km for a hybrid vehicle. This translates to hybrids being 34%, 25%, and 16% less polluting than diesel, petrol, and electric vehicles, respectively.

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The report also sheds light on the current calculation methods for emissions. In electric vehicles, the assessment primarily includes the emissions from power generation, omitting those from coal production, which could otherwise tilt the balance even more in favour of hybrids.

Further, the HSBC report projects that the parity in emissions between hybrid cars and EVs hinges on the increase in non-fossil power generation. As of the fiscal year 2023, India’s non-fossil fuel share in power generation stands at 26%. The report states that the total emissions from hybrids and EVs will reach a point of convergence when India’s non-fossil power generation rises to 44%, a development anticipated to take 7-10 years. This projection aligns with, or is slightly more conservative than, other existing estimates.

Looking ahead to 2030, even if India achieves a 40% share of non-fossil fuel in its energy mix, hybrids will still emit 8% less than EVs, a reduction from the current 16%. Despite the long-term inevitability of electric vehicles, the report from HSBC underscores the need for India to adopt hybrid vehicles over the next 5-10 years. This approach is viewed as a credible and practical pathway towards the ultimate goal of full electrification.

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Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi is a Journalist at EFY. His passion is to explore the future of mobility, which gets him to cover latest technologies shaping the future of automobiles and EVs. But, at times he writes on broader technologies too. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aryaman-raghuvanshi-2431b7153

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