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Future of Electric Vehicles in India: Scopes and Challenges

Future of Electric Vehicles in India: Scopes and Challenges

Future of Electric Vehicles in India: Scopes and Challenges

18 years ago, when I visited the Taj Mahal, Agra, I travelled in battery-operated vehicle shunting between the vehicle parking and Taj Mahal.  The authorities made these arrangements to avoid pollution due to emissions from automobiles in and around the Taj Mahal. Long back, I saw battery-operated buses plying inside the IIT Madras campus. But the numbers were limited during those times, most of them funded by the government. 

Awareness of battery-operated vehicles has picked up the pace for the past five to six years in India. A lot of Indian automakers are involved in developing EVs suitable for our local conditions. New start-ups are coming up into this segment from manufacturing vehicles, charging technologies, motors and control technologies for electric mobility.

In this blog, I write about the future of electric vehicles in India. Also, write about the opportunities and challenges.

OPPORTUNITIES

The automobile world is focusing on EVs because of the following advantages of EVs over IC engine vehicles.

1. Clean

The entire world is moving towards better alternative vehicle technologies to mitigate environmental pollution. Electric vehicles are cleaner compared to conventional IC engine vehicles, which emits more CO2 to the atmosphere. Also, It is noise-free. 

2. Cheap

With a steep increase in the price of petroleum products, the running cost of electric vehicles is cheaper than their counterpart IC engine vehicles. Central and State governments started announcing many subsidies and schemes to encourage people to move towards EVs.

3. Ease of Maintenance 

There are about 2000 moving parts in the IC engine vehicles. In contrast, electric vehicles have about 20 moving parts. The motor, control mechanism and battery are the significant parts of EVs. The maintenance of EVs is easy and comparatively cheaper. 

4. Favourable Government Policies

The central government and the majority of the state governments have announced their EV policies. The subsidies announced both to the manufacturers and buyers will encourage both parties.   Some state governments announced a 100% waiver of  SGST for EV sales to other states.  Even some states announced to waive the vehicle registration fees.  The government committed to establishing charging stations at strategic locations throughout the country. These policies will encourage people to choose EVs over its counterpart soon.

Future of Electric Vehicles in India: Scopes and Challenges


CHALLENGES:

Though there are so many advantages of EVs, there are some challenges manufacturers are facing in India.

1. Mindset 

People are still sceptical about buying electric vehicles. They have hesitations about technologies, distance range per charge, availability of charging stations, availability of service outlets, trained human resources. 

2. Cost of Vehicle

The cost of electric vehicles available in the Indian market is far higher than conventional fuel-operated vehicles. For example, the basic model Tata Nexon EV cost is Rs. 13.99 lakhs compared to Nexon  XV petrol Rs. 8.33 lakhs.  Similarly, the cost of TVS iQube EBike is almost double the cost of TVS Scooty petrol.  The middle-class people who wish to switch over to EV might think twice about the high vehicle costs.

3. Availability of Charging Stations

People still have anxiety about the range of EVs. They worry about reaching the destination with the existing charge of the vehicle, which is not a problem if they have petrol or diesel vehicles. Still, the number of charging stations in India is significantly less compared to the petrol pumps. Also, the mileage capacity per charge of Indian electric vehicles is lesser. Travel over a longer distance is not possible without recharging the EVs in-between. 

4. Battery Replacement Cost

Most of the recent vehicles use very costly lithium batteries. The EV manufacturers give a replacement warranty for five to eight years. Some of them provide a 1lakh miles warranty for batteries.  It costs heavy to replace the batteries of electric vehicles after warranty, which is one of the main concerns for potential buyers. 

5. Choice of Vehicle

There are hundreds of petrol or diesel vehicle options available to choose from in India. Nevertheless, the choices of EVs are meagre. They have to select from minimal options available.  As of now, only 9 electric cars from leading automakers are available on the market. 

6. Maintenance and Trained Workforce

Since it is an emerging technology, people feel there will be a shortage of trained human resources. Also, they feel challenging to locate service stations in remote areas.  Cost and availability of spare also are a concern.

7. Range of Vehicles in India

The range (mileage) of electric vehicles manufactured in India is significantly less than in other developed countries. So vehicles need to be charged in-between during long travel will add to travelling time.  Also, Charging Stations' availability and waiting time for charging is significantly affecting choosing electric vehicles. 

Final Thoughts

I posted a poll question on LinkedIn to understand the mindset of people about what is their next vehicle?

As expected, more people prefered (49%) electric vehicles.  Hybrid vehicles got a  good number of votes (27%).  About 16% plan to go for petrol vehicle and 8% wants to buy diesel vehicles. 

Future of Electric Vehicles in India: Scopes and Challenges

From the comments on the poll, it is found that those who look for power and range wanted to buy diesel or petrol vehicles.  

For better mileage, less pollution, people preferred electric or hybrid vehicles over IC engine vehicles.

About 500 people from various cross-sections participated in this online poll.

Electric Vehicles are the future of the automobile sector. Lots of innovations are happening in manufacturing, improving the performance, battery technology. In future, we will get efficient EVs in India. 

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