It turns out that the hallmarks of city driving in India and Chinaheavy traffic, aggressive driving style, and few freewaysmake these countries ideal places for saving fuel with hybrid vehicles. That's according to new research supported by the Clean Energy Ministerial's Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) and conducted by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). In a pair of studies using real-world driving conditions, the researchers found that hybrid cars are significantly more fuel-efficient in India and China than they are in the United States.
The government of India, a member country of EVI, is already working with the researchers to further analyse their results. India launched a national plan last year with the goal of getting 6 to 7 million hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2020. The research will help guide India in moving forward with its EV plan.
"This research has helped us understand in much better detail the real-world value of electric vehicles to India," said Ambuj Sharma, Additional Secretary of India's Department of Heavy Industry. "Their work has shown that Indian conditions are much more conducive to electric vehicles than we expected and has given a greater impetus and importance to the National Mission on Electric Mobility."
The research found that hybrids in India are more fuel-efficient than their official ratings suggest. "With the official fuel economy test procedure currently used in India, fuel savings for hybrids are fairly grossly underestimated, showing only a 29 per cent savings over conventional vehicles," said lead LBNL researcher Anand Gopal. According to the research, however, driving a hybrid would achieve fuel savings of about 47 to 48 per cent over a conventional car in India.
This research on hybrid vehicles is part of a broader research effort supported by EVI to understand the value of electric vehicles in the Indian context. EVI plans to publish further analysis from LBNL on the potential fuel savings of all-electric vehicles as well as the optimal planning of EV charging infrastructure in the India's capital region of Delhi. The full results will be presented to ministers at the fifth Clean Energy Ministerial on 1213 May in Seoul, Korea.
Another next step, according to Gopal, is to work with China, which is also a member country of EVI. China has been the world's largest car market since 2009. These findings could have an important impact in countries that are on the brink of experiencing an explosion in the sales of personal vehicles, such as India and China. "Currently greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector in India and China are a smaller piece of the pie compared with other sectors," said Gopal. "But vehicle ownership is going to skyrocket in these countries. That is why we decided to focus on this area. Hybrid and electric vehicles can significantly reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants."
Source: Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat
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