IS INDIA READY FOR ELECTRIC CARS?

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The future of automobile industry is here. With petrol and diesel prices rising up, the electric vehicles (EV) will surely replace the eco-unfriendly petrol and diesel cars gradually in the near future. Benefits of EVs are:

  1.  With use of batteries instead of petrol/diesel to power the engine, consumption of fossil fuels is minimum.
  2. No emissions, thus not causing air pollution.
  3. Quiet engine which leads to reduction in noise pollution.
  4. Electric vehicles save energy by regenerative braking, around 30-70% of the energy can be recovered.
  5. Cheaper in the long run.
  6. High Torque at low speeds

With these main benefits, EVs ought to be selling like a piece of cake. But there is a catch.

The first electric car which launched in India was Mahindra e2o back in 2013 which had a range of 120 km in full charge. It was succeeded by Mahindra e2o Plus in 2016 which later got discontinued in 2019 due to safety issues and low sales.Now, Mahindra has only one Electric car, i.e., eVerito in its line-up. Other electric cars present in Indian market are TataTigor EV, Tata Nexon EV, Hyundai Kona Electric, MG ZS EV and Tata Tiago EV (to be launched). From these, the most-selling is Tata Nexon EV which sold 198 units in March 2020.

Though nowadays, there are hybrid cars like Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, MG Hector, etc. use both electric and fuel. These cars have regenerative braking which helps to charge back the lithium ion battery, thus saving both fuel and charge. But still they are too costly for the Indian market.

So, what’s stopping Indians to buy electrics?

  1. Lack of Infrastructure
  2. Initial Cost

First,people who are willing to buy an EV to support the environment, are let down by our country’s shortage of Infrastructure. There are hardly any charging points on the go, and even if there is one, it does not have a fast charging capability. The best-selling Nexon takes 1 hour to charge from 0 to 80% when using a fast charger but with a normal 15A charger it would take 8.5 hours. So, when you are on the highway and you find out your battery is about to die, and also of sheer luck you find a charging station – you plug in the charger and curse yourself. Whereas a petrol driven car would take approx. 5-8 minutes for a full tank refill!

You, as a reader, decide!  What makes more sense?

Coming  to point 2, let me take an example of Tata Nexon itself. Tata Nexon has ex-showroom price range from Rs. 6.95 lakhs for base petrol variant to Rs. 12.7 lakhs for top model automatic.

Whereas, Nexon EV price range is starting from Rs. 14 lakhs up to Rs. 16 lakhs top variant. Think from this perspective, a person who is willing to buy a base model would have to spend 7 lakhs more comparative to the petrol variant. Now coming to the funny part, in that 7 lakhs, that person can buy a second Tata Nexon petrol variant!!

So, in this era of social status and symbol, a person will automatically buy two cars without even giving a thought.

There is also a factor where one needs to be aware about is that when electric cars catch fire, they are tough to control the fire as electric cars use lithium-ion batteries. Even after the flames have been extinguished, the batteries still contain energy and keep sparking, reigniting the car again and again.Water, used to put out fires, can cause short circuits, leading to more sparking, according to firefighters. But for IC (internal combustion like petrol and diesel) cars, fire is easier to control once the fuel has burned up.

Now let’s come to enthusiasts, who prefer cars which are powerful and fun to drive. For them, Tesla cars are their only choice but due to its price, import cost to India, taxes, etc., only Ambanis’ can afford it(lol). Due to its superb initial torque, various modes, fully automatic feature, Tesla outstands any other EV and is also bought by many in foreign market. Tesla Model S with its Ludicrous+ feature turned on can go from 0 – 100 km/h in just 2.28 secs which is way faster than any non-electric cars like Lamborghini Huracán Performante, Bugatti Chiron, etc.

So, what is the future of EVs in the Indian market?

Many EVs other than cars are gradually increasing. Public transport like bus, electric rickshaws, trams are going electric as it will be cheaper in the long run, completely pollution free. Delhi, being the most air polluted city, is using all means to introduce electric vehicles in the market. This is the only solution for fighting against polluting environment.

Electric Scooters and motorcycles like Ather Energy, Bajaj Chetak, Revolt RV400 are only available in selected cities and service centres are very less.

Though government is trying to give discounts on electric cars, still it’s not worth considering our infrastructure.

Verdict

In conclusion, we need to wait for at least 5 years(maybe more) for the government to act upon:

  1. Charging stations at every fuel pumps present now
  2. Fast charging support at least at busiest areas of cities and highways
  3. Initial cost of EVs should have heavy discounts to uplift sales.
  4. More service centres
  5. More dealerships favouring EVs

But, for daily usage like a short drive to office, dropping kids at school, etc. EVs are really the best option for you now considering the constant rise in petrol/diesel prices. You can charge your car at home, have a pleasant pollution free ride and come back home, and repeat. It will not burn a hole in your pocket unlike if you had done the same with a petrol or a diesel car.

Keeping an EV as your only car might not be a good choice for now. If there is an emergency and you don’t have charge in your car, then it will be a nightmare for you. So, I will suggest you to wait and keep following us for more updates.

Sources:

https://nexonev.tatamotors.com/

https://auto.hindustantimes.com/

https://www.financialexpress.com/auto/electric-vehicles/tata-nexon-highest-selling-electric-car-hyundai-kona-ev-mg-zs-ev-charging-time-price/1930014/#:~:text=Tata%20Nexon%20EV%20now%20India’s,ZS%20%2D%20The%20Financial%20Express..

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/only-1309-electric-cars-were-sold-india-first-eight-months-fy20-115083

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_industry_in_India

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