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Old 16th June 2021, 07:48   #1
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Default Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

Hear me out guys. Read in news today, the government intents to save on import bill by increasing ethanol distillation capacity for fuel.

Ethanol as we know is made from molasses which actually is derived after processing of sugarcane. Sugarcane, some of you might not know is a water consuming crop. It requires a lot of water, to put it in perspective, drought in Marathwada region few years back was due to this, as there are most number of Sugar mills.

I know, the mills are owned and operated by people who are active in politics but they are at the state level. From first step onwards, this idea seems flawed. Why cannot government focus on electric vehicles rather than doing this?

Why is Central government not pushing EVs to the core? China has done it. Why can't we?

I understand we might not have the resources for battery manufacturing or related components but there will always be constraint in resources. No nation has everything. Don't you guys think the government can at least incentivise the electric manufacturers and consumers a little bit more?

Is there anything we as citizens of this country can do without getting tagged as anti-national or desecrated?
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Old 17th June 2021, 07:32   #2
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the EVs section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th June 2021, 07:55   #3
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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Originally Posted by batish View Post
Read in news today, the government intents to save on import bill by increasing ethanol distillation capacity for fuel.

From first step onwards, this idea seems flawed. Why cannot government focus on electric vehicles rather than doing this?

Why is Central government not pushing EVs to the core? China has done it. Why can't we?
While I don’t want to make this political, there are many other things the government can do instead which they’re not.

The Government apparently wants lower fuel import bills and also ultimately wants to move to EVs. The latter has a minimum 10 year road map if not 20 years. In the meantime, if they do not penalise Hybrids and PHEVs through heavy taxation is that not one way of reducing your import bills in the near term.

- Diesel vehicles require lesser fuel per km. Result: Lower fuel consumption and lower fuel import bill.
- Hybrids deliver much higher efficiency and there are hybrid variants across most models (take Sri Lanka for eg). Why can’t they have supportive taxation structures to push hybrids.
- PHEVs: Can potentially remove range anxiety and consume very low fuel in daily / weekly city running relying on fuel more for longer range drives. Result: Lower fuel consumption.

I am sure if a full hybrid / PHEV version of most mainstream vehicles (think between 8 - 30 lakhs, or even more) could be had for 1 - 2.5 lakh over its regular petrol counterpart, many buyers would opt for these alternatives just as they did for diesels for several years. You have petrol refinement, diesel efficiency and some light green creds to boot.

The above are all overnight measures that require minimum existing capex by manufacturers (who might bring these in through CKDs and eventually even manufacture them here if they are mass market) nor do they require a huge infra outlay plan. If you incentivise such vehicles, buyers purchasing these will drive vehicles consuming lower fuel. But I don’t see any such moves by the government.

I am not even confident sometimes whether the stated objectives are indeed the actual objectives. We have unrealistic Make In India ambition when in fact there are many ways of achieving local employment even in alternate channels where appropriate.

I also believe heavy EV investments can be kicked off through segments like public buses etc which have a depot and fixed routes. Start with that if you want to put your back into EV. It’s a large section of vehicles with a fixed parking spot and fixed routes. Convert those into EV fleets to start with.

Last edited by vb-san : 17th June 2021 at 08:44. Reason: a small typo
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Old 17th June 2021, 08:09   #4
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by batish View Post
Ethanol as we know is made from molasses which actually is derived after processing of sugarcane. Sugarcane, some of you might not know is a water consuming crop. It requires a lot of water, to put it in perspective, drought in Marathwada region few years back was due to this, as there are most number of Sugar mills.
India has brought forward its target for producing 20 percent ethanol blended petrol (E20) by two years. Initially set for 2030, the target date was brought forward to 2025 earlier this year, and now with the latest Gazette notification it stands at 1st April, 2023.

India already uses ethanol blended petrol and started with a 5 percent doping level, currently it stands at about 10 percent. However, this is not standard across the board but at this current level of ethanol doping, engines do not need any modifications.

To run a blend of 20 percent ethanol however does require certain engine updates and modifications, and current vehicles could face some issues, thus just like at the time of the introduction of unleaded fuel, the supply of E20 will carry on in parallel to the current fuel. The notification too does not indicate a mandatory 20 percent blend for the country’s entire petrol supply.

At a 20 percent blend, most engine experts believe that changes to the fuel lines as well as some plastic and rubber bits will be required due to the higher corrosive nature of E20. Also due to the lower energy density of the fuel, engines will need to be recalibrated to achieve the required power, efficiency and emission level balance.

What remains to be seen now is how well the auto industry reacts to this new deadline. India’s constantly changing emission roadmap and the strong push towards EVs has caused some turmoil and has caught out quite a few automakers. The industry has been asking for a clear long term emission roadmap and it feels that regulators should set emission targets instead of pushing for any particular technology.


Why is the Government keen on ethanol?

The move to introduce ethanol blended fuel is driven by the requirement to reduce the country’s oil import bill which stands between Rs 7 lakh crore and Rs 8 lakh crore. Also given that India has both corn and sugar surplus production the move would likely benefit the farming sector too. Sugar mills of course will need to upgrade their ethanol production and supply capacity, but most importantly, careful scientific planning is required to make sure that growing these ‘fuel crops’ does not take away forest land or land currently used for food production, something already a concern in some countries that use blended fuels.

The Government has been batting for the implementation of Ethanol fuel for some time now. Recently in March this year, speaking at the 2021 Autocar India Awards, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, said, “I am requesting all in the automobile industry to please cooperate with us to bring flex engines just like in USA, Brazil and Canada.”

Flex fuel engines refers to those engines that can run any ratio of blended ethanol right from E20 up to 100 percent ethanol. These engines though would be the next step post E20’s implementation, that is, if India decides to go down that path. Interestingly, today on the occasion of World Environment Day, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inaugurated an E100 pilot project in Pune, while in July 2019 TVS unveiled an Apache designed to run on E80 or pure ethanol (E100).

Source: https://www.autocarindia.com/car-new...ol-fuel-421021

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 17th June 2021 at 08:14.
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Old 17th June 2021, 08:23   #5
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by batish View Post
Ethanol as we know is made from molasses which actually is derived after processing of sugarcane. Sugarcane, some of you might not know is a water consuming crop. It requires a lot of water, to put it in perspective, drought in Marathwada region few years back was due to this, as there are most number of Sugar mills.

I know, the mills are owned and operated by people who are active in politics but they are at the state level. From first step onwards, this idea seems flawed. Why cannot government focus on electric vehicles rather than doing this?
I think the question you should be asking is why are farmers in drought prone Marathwada opting to grow water hungry sugarcane no?
Besides Marathwada, other regions in MH too grow sugarcane. e.g. Kolhapur.
No perpetual drought there.
Also, on a national level, UP beats MH in sugarcane production.
Haven't heard of any sugarcane induced droughts there or in any other state.

Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?-sugarcane-prod.png

Quote:
Originally Posted by batish View Post
Why is Central government not pushing EVs to the core? China has done it. Why can't we?
Why is GoI not pushing for EVs? Looking at the news, I think they already are.
Building infra takes time. Of course the development speed can be hastened like you correctly said, China.
I am sure if we had the undemocratic political system like China, our speed could go up as well.
Naturally I am not privy to GoI decision making process or logic, but I think ethanol push is a stop gap till we peak EV infra. And of course Ethanol also means more money to the farmers which is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by batish View Post
Is there anything we as citizens of this country can do
Atmanirbhar? Vocal for local? That would boost Indian innovation and industry. Which would mean more financial prosperity. Which would mean faster EV infra.

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Originally Posted by batish View Post
[sic] without getting tagged as anti-national or desecrated?
Dude what? Tagged as anti-national or desecrated? What does that even mean? Is this some Chinese reference I did not grasp?

On a non serious note:
World: Sugar daddy
India: Sugar lobby
(Sorry, couldn't resist)

Last edited by RedTerrano : 17th June 2021 at 08:40.
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Old 17th June 2021, 08:24   #6
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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Originally Posted by ruzbehxyz View Post

What remains to be seen now is how well the auto industry reacts to this new deadline. India’s constantly changing emission roadmap and the strong push towards EVs has caused some turmoil and has caught out quite a few automakers.
Just like you mentioned here, if the government is keen on electric vehicles so much then why ethanol at all? As Axe77 said, why not promote proper hybrids or even PHEVs if EVs are distant.

Quote:

Why is the Government keen on ethanol?
The move to introduce ethanol blended fuel is driven by the requirement to reduce the country’s oil import bill which stands between Rs 7 lakh crore and Rs 8 lakh crore. Also given that India has both corn and sugar surplus production the move would likely benefit the farming sector too. Sugar mills of course will need to upgrade their ethanol production and supply capacity.
1 kg of sugarcane requires 3000 litres of water which is equivalent to 150 regular buckets. This is just for 1 KG sugarcane, after which it needs to be processed in mills. Then investment in sugar mills is required too along with change in design of engines.
Why not just jump to PHEVs or EVs directly than these destructive steps?

Quote:
The Government has been batting for the implementation of Ethanol fuel for some time now. Recently in March this year, speaking at the 2021 Autocar India Awards, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, said, “I am requesting all in the automobile industry to please cooperate with us to bring flex engines just like in USA, Brazil and Canada.”
Again, why not EVs or PHEVs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
I think the question you should be asking is why are farmers in drought prone Marathwada opting to grow water hungry sugarcane no?
I guess because the purchase price of Sugarcane is much higher than any other crop which makes it appealing to farmers.

Quote:

Besides Marathwada, other regions in MH too grow sugarcane. e.g. Kolhapur. No perpetual drought there.
Also, on a national level, UP beats MH in sugarcane production. Haven't heard of any sugarcane induced droughts there or in any other state
UP and Bihar have Ganga basin which does make difference in water levels there.

Quote:

Why is GoI not pushing for EVs? Looking at the news, I think they already are. Building infra takes time. Of course the development speed can be hastened. Like you correctly said, China. I am sure if we had the undemocratic political system like China, our speed could go up as well.
Of course I am not privy to GoI decisions, but I think ethanol push is a stop gap till we peak EV infra. And of course Ethanol also means more money to the farmers which is a good thing.
Fair enough.

Quote:
Dude what? Tagged as anti-national or desecrated? What does that even mean?
It just means can we question this decision of the government and ask them without being called names.

Quote:
On a non serious note:
World: Sugar daddy
India: Sugar lobby
(Sorry, couldn't resist)

Last edited by batish : 17th June 2021 at 08:41.
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Old 17th June 2021, 08:24   #7
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

1. India can’t become a battery manufacturing hub. At best, we can assemble. The components will all have to be imported. China controls the Li battery ecosystem end to end. So no benefit in terms of forex.

2. The role of the sugar lobby behind this move cannot be discarded. Most of our sugar mills are owned by politicians. The three largest sugarcane producing states of India, by far, are UP, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The importance of the political heft of these three is lost on no one. Without making this post political, I’ll just say the position of the party in power in terms of both central and state elections has to be a factor in the sudden interest in ethanol.

3. Our transport minister just so happens to be a sugar baron himself.

4. I’d like to think the automobile industry would welcome this move on the same lines as the scrapage policy. The cars on our roads are designed to run on pure petrol, not E20. Ethanol is highly corrosive, and engine parts have to be redesigned to run on ethanol blended petrol. More old cars developing engine trouble will mean higher new car sales.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 17th June 2021 at 08:27.
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Old 17th June 2021, 08:35   #8
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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Why not just jump to PHEVs or EVs directly than these destructive steps?

Again, why not EVs or PHEVs?
Simple reasons are by 2030, the infrastructure for EV cannot be ready and the Government knows that. Besides most of the sugar lobby is owned and /or operated by politicians. Plus it will also benefit the farmers, because according to the Government only certain type of people deserve everything and you have to keep buying new cars every 10 years and also pay your taxes in time.

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 17th June 2021 at 08:38.
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Old 17th June 2021, 09:18   #9
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

Instead of Ethanol, if the govt had encouraged PHEVs enough(not like the pseudo ones from Maruti), our fuel import bill would have reduced.

Unlike BEVs, PHEVs does not require large infrastructure changes. If they could have encouraged PHEV technology advances and made affordable, people will embrace them just for cost savings without depending on taxpayers money to subsidize EVs
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Old 17th June 2021, 09:59   #10
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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I guess because the purchase price of Sugarcane is much higher than any other crop which makes it appealing to farmers.

UP and Bihar have Ganga basin which does make difference in water levels there.
So we agree drought problem has got nothing to do with Ethanol policy?

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It just means can we question this decision of the government and ask them without being called names.
So you are questioning the Govt decisions. How many names have you been called till now?
Are you aware GoI has started a portal where they actually encourage constructive criticism of Govt policies and even invite suggestions to improve things?
Check this out
https://www.mygov.in/home/discuss/
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Old 17th June 2021, 10:25   #11
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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So we agree drought problem has got nothing to do with Ethanol policy?
My point was since sugarcane is water loving crop, it depletes groundwater. So rather than focussing on increasing its production for ethanol purposes why not shift to PHEVs or EVs directly.

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Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
Are you aware GoI has started a portal where they actually encourage constructive criticism of Govt policies and even invite suggestions to improve things?
Check this out
https://www.mygov.in/home/discuss/
Thanks Sir! I wasn't aware of this. I'll check it out.

Last edited by batish : 17th June 2021 at 10:30.
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Old 17th June 2021, 10:43   #12
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

I think people recommending hybrids should understand the cost involved in owning and manufacturing one. No matter what tax exemptions the govt. gives, they are not cheap to own. Let's be clear about that. The EV push is happening and it will take time. The onus to produce long range and easier charging mechanism does not lie with the government. The car manufacturers need to work on the R&D and make that happen. Everyone should understand the emerging global scenario. With OPEC trying to bully world countries at every possible opportunity and India being a huge huge importer of crude oil, the country cannot be hostage to such situations always. We need to slowly reduce our import bills and reduce dependencies on specific countries. Without making progress in this area and doing it quickly, India will never have a hard stand to take on global forums. Strong comments (India's comments on any topics of global interest) on oil producing countries have to be censored and done behind closed doors. We have seen the recent statements from Saudi Arabia in response to India's suggestions on increasing fuel supply.

On one side we make a hue and cry over increasing fuel prices and on the other we want the govt to focus on EVs which are hardly the short term (long term fix) to this problem. Ethanol mix to fuel reduces carbon emissions which India has a target to meet as per the Paris Agreement. I find it funny that people link ethanol mixing with politics. It has nothing to do with it, it is not a contract that will happen immediately. What if the current ruling party does not come to power in 2024? Will the next party get away with the concept altogether? Brazil currently is a pioneer in ethanol, fossil fuel mix. I think we are only trying to make progress on what is a tested model in some big economies. The move also aims to help lower income farmers to get guaranteed income through sale of ethanol.
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Old 17th June 2021, 10:47   #13
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

Diverting 7800 Tonnes of Grains with the FCI Which were procured for food security to produce ethanol while there are millions who cannot get even two nutritious meals a day seems quite proposterous. The idea behind this push is definitely to meet the Paris agreement goals and lower our huge Fuel import bill and Forex drains but at what cost? Millions staying hungry? Don't agree with this.
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Old 17th June 2021, 12:40   #14
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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Diverting 7800 Tonnes of Grains with the FCI Which were procured for food security to produce ethanol while there are millions who cannot get even two nutritious meals a day seems quite proposterous. The idea behind this push is definitely to meet the Paris agreement goals and lower our huge Fuel import bill and Forex drains but at what cost? Millions staying hungry? Don't agree with this.
We have surplus grains in FCI godowns, rotten with weather and pests. Farmers(especially from Punjab) do not move to other crops, some state govts are giving subsidies to farmers to move away from grains.

I feel moving the grains for ethanol production is a good step. I am not defending the govt here, their policies in EVs, solar energy are a disaster as of now.
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Old 17th June 2021, 12:42   #15
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Default Re: Govt aggressive on Ethanol - Why don't they push EVs instead?

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Originally Posted by SKC-auto View Post
We have surplus grains in FCI godowns, rotten with weather and pests. Farmers(especially from Punjab) do not move to other crops, some state govts are giving subsidies to farmers to move away from grains.

I feel moving the grains for ethanol production is a good step. I am not defending the govt here, their policies in EVs, solar energy are a disaster as of now.
Agreed that there is a lot of wastage of grains from the FCI stock. But that is not because all of our population is well fed and the ensuing surplus. It is a distribution issue with our PDS system. So instead of legitimising this issue and leaving millions of poor in the lurch by using this surplus for ethanol production, why not try fixing the PDS system to ensure that not one citizen sleeps hungry? I feel there's more value to be derived there.
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