E-vehicles in India have been seeing a boom all over the world thanks to Elon Musk. After Tesla, not only has the public’s perception of e-cars changed, but it has also proven to be a significant motivating factor for clean energy initiatives around the globe. Many skeptics did not believe him but he pursued his dream and succeeded. With the success of Tesla, all countries have understood that clean energy can be used to fuel good quality four-wheelers, three-wheelers, and two-wheelers.
India is not an exception, and it has realized that it cannot ignore electric vehicles if it hopes to meet its energy demands in the future. The government has tried to incentified auto manufacturers to produce electric vehicles. Let us take a measure of the current electric vehicle market in India, its present state, promise, and future.
The current state of the Indian E-Vehicles in India Market
If you look at the current sales figures and progress of the e-vehicles in India, it seems like it is in a baby state. The sales figures are not very promising. Have a look at these latest figures of E-Vehicles in India.
- Only 8133 electric 4 wheelers were sold in the first 2 quarters of 2020. It is only 0.45% of total personal vehicles sold in the same period all over India.
- Since 2015 only 143000 electric two-wheelers have been sold in India which is a very low figure.
- There are about 5 lakh e – rickshaws plying on the roads of India. This figure looks good until you know that India has over 6 million three-wheelers, therefore, the figure is not great.
The above figure clearly shows that e- vehicles need lots of attention before they can catch up with petroleum or diesel-powered vehicles. The question now arises as to why the e-vehicle sector in India has been slow to grow. We will examine the obstacles from the customer and manufacturer perspectives.
Why customers Are Still Not Confident With E- Vehicles in India
One of the biggest reasons why e -vehicles sales have not picked up speed in India is the skepticism of the consumers towards e -vehicles. They are still not confident with electric technology. Let us look at some of the fear that pushes consumers away from e- vehicles
One of the first fears that come to the mind of any consumer is range anxiety. Since e-vehicles in India cannot be filled instantly like petroleum vehicles and batteries take at least 1 hour even on a fast charger to charge completely, it puts doubts in the minds of the consumers. However, the situation is improving for e-vehicles. ‘Simple One Electric Scooter’ claims a range of 236 KM and Ola S1 offers a range of 181 KM on the single charge.
In 4 wheelers, Hyundai is leading the way with Hyundai Kona. It claims to have a range of 452 Km on the single charge. Audi e-tron, which is a more premium brand, claims that it is equipped with a range of 484km.
One of the biggest issues is the almost non-existent charging infrastructure in India. Like petroleum stations, Elon Musk developed charging points throughout the USA. He then connected the data of those charging stations with Tesla’s car software. It means if a person is looking for a long-range drive then with the help of the software, he/she can create a plan to make the journey easy. The best part is that the Tela software does it automatically. The commuter just needs to enter the destination and software automatically maps out the different charging station locations situated on the selected route.
Such features are not possible to implement in India as of now as the charging stations are non-existent. Moreover, there seems to be no company that has the capability & will to transform or create the needed infrastructure
High cost Of The E- vehicles
It is a general trend that all types of e-vehicles are priced way higher than their petroleum counterparts. Hyundai Kona pricing starts at Rs. 23.75 lakh/per unit and Audi e-Tron pricing is an unbelievable high of Rs. 1.1 cr.. The same is the case with 2 wheelers where brands are generally pricing their vehicles higher. Ola has priced their scooters between ₹ 85K to Rs. 1 lakh and Revolt RV400 is priced at Rs. 91000.
No Culture Of Early Adoption
Electric technology is very much new, therefore, several of the prospective buyers are adopting a wait and watch policy. They want other people to test out the technology and the available product before they bounce on to those. In the USA, we see a different outlook where people aren’t too afraid to test out new technologies.
Long Term Reliability And the Resale value
Indians are very much conscious of the quality. They want to gauge if the purchased product will last them for a longer duration without causing any issue. Moreover, the resale value of the purchased vehicle is also a consideration. Since the penetration of e- vehicles is very low, the consumers are not sure if they’ll be getting good resale value for their e-vehicles and the electric vehicle is still a new technology for most prospective buyers, therefore, trust issues do exist.
Why Manufactures Are Still Not Pushing For E- Vehicles Manufacturing
Dependence On Imports
Several of the technological parts come from outside of India. Import makes products costly and supplies chain issues due to Covid-19 have not helped either.
Dearth Of Indigenous Technology
Most of the technology that is used in the creation of e- vehicles comes from outside of India. The process involves obtaining permission from the technology holder, licensing, and other permissions that one needs to obtain before a technology can be incorporated in India. Thus, the process becomes slower, and building indigenous technology takes time and resources.
Lack of government Support
The Indian Government has taken some measures to boost e-vehicles production and sales, but a lot remains to be done. One of the issues is the high import duty on the vehicles that are imported into the country. This issue was highlighted by Elon Musk who couldn’t fast track his plans to sell his affordable offering to Indian people. Even the Indian manufacturers have raised the issue of red-tapism, bureaucracy, and lack of will on the Government’s part to push forward the growth of the e-vehicles sector in India.
The most important component of the electric vehicle is the battery. Lithium is not found in India & therefore India has to import raw material from the outside. It drives the cost of the batteries and the vehicles higher. Moreover, the Covid-19 has plagued the supply chain everywhere in the world. Therefore the effects are being felt in the growth of the e-vehicle sector in India.
Lack Of Will And Innovation
There have been some really good examples in the sector of e-vehicles where companies have taken up the challenge of building quality e-vehicles for consumers. The latest is the Ola that has presented forward quality scooters, however, if you look at the whole sector that includes 4 wheelers, 2 wheelers, and 3 wheelers, it doesn’t take long to figure out that most of the vehicle manufacturers do not want to risk too much and taking things slow.
How Does The Future Look with E-vehicles in India
The current government has highlighted several times that they want to put India in the world of automobile sector as a leading automobile exporter. The present Minister for Road Transport & Highways in the Government of India, Nitin Gadkari has said many times that the current government has concrete plans to promote Green Hydrogen from wastewater LNG, ethanol, electric vehicles, and flex engines.
India has also committed to achieving the target of net-zero emission by 2070, therefore planning has to start now. The future of India looks good but not the brightest when it comes to the adoption of technology and pace of growth. It is possible, however, for the central government and state governments to realize the importance of electric vehicles. If it happens, circumstances will improve drastically. The dependence on petroleum should be reduced, and vehicle manufacturers can also play a role by investing more money, resources, and attention into the e-vehicle sector.
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