The push for electric vehicles is coming from the central government but are Indian consumers ready for this massive change?
In 2017, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari shocked the automobile industry (and the world) when he announced that he intended for India to move to 100% electric cars by 2030.”
India is making a big push for electric vehicles, signaling a turning point in its clean energy policy, writes energy writer Vandana Gombar.” source: BBC
Experts suggest that the market for EVs, as well as the infrastructure, will take years to reach a point where it can pose a challenge to the ICE sector. Even the main component of an EV — the battery — is not fully manufactured in India. In the 2010 Auto Expo held in New Delhi, EVs found many admirers. Every biggie in the Indian market had something or the other to flaunt under the “future mobility” tag — Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motors India, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, TVS Motor and so on. Cut to 2019 — almost 10 years later — these companies are still figuring out the best way forward. They are yet to convince the mileage-crazy Indian consumer to make the mental switch to EVs.”
According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), in 2018-19 around 7.6 lakh EVs were sold in India. Three-wheelers accounted for 6.3 lakh units, followed by 1.26 lakh two-wheelers and just 3,600 electric cars.” read more at — Hindu business line
“India is well placed to start the EV revolution. All that is required is the will to do it and this government with various steps has clearly indicated that it is in favour of the EVs,” Prerana Chaturvedi, CEO of Evolet, told us.
Is India really ready?
- India has been manufacturing and using electric locomotives that pull train coaches with thousands of tons of load and this has not only reduced pollution but has also saved conventional fuels like coal, diesel, and petroleum.
- According to a report by NITI Aayog, India can save 64% of road-based energy demand and 37% of carbon emissions by going for electric vehicles.
- This would result in a reduction of 156 megatons in diesel and petrol consumption for that year. At USD 52/bbl of crude, this would imply a net savings of roughly Rs 3.9 lakh crore (approximately 60 billion USD) in 2030. These figures clearly indicate an urgent requirement for the replacement of conventional vehicles with electric vehicles.
- Among the top 20 most polluted cities in the world,13 are in India. Most of the pollution is because of vehicular emissions. This shows the need for electric vehicles.
- As per the signatory of the Paris climate agreement, India is supposed to bring down its annual gas emissions. Thus, the Indian government is trying hard to pursue electric vehicles to bring down emissions.
- Most Indians prefer petrol or diesel and they just don’t like the slow pickup of the electric cars and dislike waiting for long times to recharge their cars. The non-availability of charging stations is a big issue.
- In 2015, the government launched the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME), a scheme that offered incentives for clean fuel technology cars with the long-term objective of boosting their sales but even with incentives as high as INR 140,000 on some cars, the scheme still didn’t do very well.
- India lacks the infrastructure that is needed for electric vehicles. The condition of the roads also needs to improve.
The leading international vehicle brands like Tesla, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Toyota are looking forward to selling their electric vehicles in India since 2014 but the prohibitive import duty(up to 100%) is making it difficult. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla proved this in his tweet in which he said, “I’m told import duties are extremely high (up to 100%), even for electric cars. This would make our cars unaffordable.”
Tesla also showed interest in setting up a battery plant in India, in partnership with Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd.
The trucks will be manufactured by the Gurugram based fleet, IPLT. The company aims at having 1,000 trucks on the road by 2020 and 10k by 2021. The company is looking to raise $100 mil to support production.
They are planning to launch their trucks within the next 1.5 months. They will start off by 5 trucks but will go to 40-50 trucks by January 2020. The first truck by the company is going to be the rhino 5536. The 60-tonne truck will be powered by a 276 kWh battery, that should enable a range of 200 Km with load and 400 Km without load, with a top speed of 90 km per hour.
Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles
- They are better for the environment – The electric vehicles with no toxic gas emissions are much better for the environment as compared to the conventional vehicles
- Electricity is cheaper than petrol – Electricity is cheaper than petroleum. Compared to the rising prices of fuel, electricity is cheaper.
- Maintenance is cheaper and easier – Since electric cars don’t run on oil, they need less attention. The brakes on EVs also don’t need much attention
- They are quiet – They cause much less noise pollution as compared to conventional vehicles.
- They may cause CANCER – These vehicles may cause cancer as they emit extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF). Recent studies on the EMF emitted by these vehicles show that they may cause cancer. Unfortunately, much of the research conducted on this issue has been industry-funded by companies with vested interests on one side of the issue or the other which makes it difficult to know which studies are trustworthy.
- Short ranges – Although the range for EVs is increasing, it is still a concerning point for customers. On a full charge, most electric models are limited to a range of 60 to 100 miles, but a small minority of models can go between 200 and 300 miles per charge.
- Long charging time – If you compare electric vehicles to conventional vehicles, there is a huge difference. The few minutes that the conventional car takes is very less as compared to the 4 hours that most EVs take. Some EVs even take a ridiculous 15 to 20 hours.
- High prices – Even the more affordable electric car models start in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, while luxury models creep into the $80,000s and upward.
- Absence of charging stations – As the popularity of electric cars grows, so, too, do the charging stations they require.
So, electric cars may be possible in the future but for now, we can only wait for the technology to advance and the infrastructure to improve to adhere to the need of the hour.