Originally uploaded by Eileen Delhi.
Yahoo! News tells us that President Abdul Kalam “has urged Indians to reduce dependence on oil, gas and coal imports and rely instead on cleaner and cheaper energy sources to power its booming economy.” Getting jiggy with the wombat, so to speak.
I wonder if he owns stock in Reva? This Indian electric car manufacturer noted recently upgraded their energy storage system to Li Ion and I would be willing to bet that the engineers wanted to use a fuel cell.
India’s Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal has said that “Indian technology is at par with any other technology in other parts of the world” (Source: PTI, New Delhi, May 9, 2005). If this is so, then the European electric car market would be one place to watch to see how well the Reva competes with the Citroen Saxo, Renault Kangoo, or the Kewet, mindful that these or other offerings in an unsure market segment may be joint ventures with predominant Asian auto manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Of course, I am looking through the lens of alternate transportation, whereas President Kalam is looking at the broader national energy issue. I previously have read that China and India are the best examples of opportunities for industrial countries to use newer technologies and make better environmental choices as they further develop their energy infrastructures. I wonder which countries they should try to emulate?
India, as news watchers can attest from the recent pissing contest between India and Pakistan, is a nuclear power, thus, it is somewhat understandable that President Kalan endorses more Thorium reactors. While these may power electric dynamos that could recharge the battery packs in BEVs, they nonetheless are difficult to fit into buses, taxis and trucks.
As reported by Green Car Congress, he also endorsed greater use of biofuels. While this may be one approach, India also may be the best choice for an “acid test” of a hydrogen economy since “Big Oil” has less of a stranglehold in India than elsewhere.
Given their technological wherewithal, India could become a functioning hydrogen economy before 2040, which is the target set by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Economy when a sizeable part of South Korea’s transportation, power generation and household appliances would operate on fuel cells.