Amidst increasing concerns around air quality, the government has finally made it clear that both ICE (internal combustion engines) that run on fossil fuels and EVs shall co-exist in the market. This gives car manufacturers the freedom to focus on EVs, aligning with the government vision to put more and more EVs on the road in the next few years. We have often seen pollution hogging the limelight during Delhi’s winters – and is one of the most polluted places to live in, according to statistics. Its satellite city, Gurugram, has also topped the chart as the most polluted city in the world and so have a dozen more Indian cities.
While these statistics are pretty alarming by themselves, their environmental and health-related impact deserves a closer examination. Air pollution killed more than 1.2 million people across India in 2017 and was the third-biggest cause of deaths in the country – ahead of smoking, malnutrition, and road traffic injuries. Conventional internal combustion engine-based vehicles are amongst the largest contributors to this growing menace of air pollution, a challenge that the government is trying to address by driving EV adoption through policies such as FAME-II.
The number of environmentally-conscious individuals turning away from traditional fossil fuel-run vehicles has risen in the past few years. This is the category of first movers which we feel will ultimately become the flag-bearers for EVs going ahead in India.
For the most part, the onus is on OEMs and related stakeholders to help masses in understanding the benefits of EVs and busting the myths surrounding the electric-run automobiles which are deterring them from going the EV way.
It is commonly assumed that:
1. EVs are high maintenance
As compared with traditional ICE vehicles, EVs will be more beneficial to run as they have a smaller number of moving parts – hence they would enjoy lesser scheduled repair costs. Most people are under the impression that maintaining an electric vehicle means having to bear high operational costs, especially in the form of spiked-up electricity bills or maintenance costs. We believe that over time, EVs will prove to be more wallet-friendly than ICE vehicles in terms of running costs if specific parameters are kept in consideration.
2. EVs are unfit for long-distance travel
The low adoption rate of EVs is due to a myth that the vehicle range will not be enough for travelling from one city to another or just outside the city. However, the new-age, global line of electric vehicles with extremely capable batteries ensures that vehicles travel above 300 KM in range. The entry of global EV leaders into the market is expected to change the current market dynamics as they localise their internationally-proven EV offerings to better suit the demands of the local consumer base in India. With the government’s increasing thrust on charging stations, soon there will be a time when a person can travel from Delhi to Chandigarh, with the options of charging available at least 2 or 3 times on the way.
3. Converting traditional ICE vehicles into EVs is a viable option
Another myth is that any existing petrol or diesel vehicle with an engine can be converted to electric, which is not usually the case. EV parts are purpose-built to enhance the efficiency of the vehicles. They are usually made up of light-weight components to lend EVs greater mileage per charge. Therefore, much of the efficiency of a pure EV is lost in translation when converting conventional, heavy ICE cars into EVs. Moreover, the conversion process, along with the subsequent maintenance costs, typically puts more pressure on the budget than purchasing a pure EV from the onset. Hence, EVs are built from scratch with a specific design in mind with proper space to accommodate the lithium-ion battery and do not need to be bonnet-heavy like ICE vehicles.
4. EV batteries need to be replaced frequently
Contrary to popular belief, the modern EV batteries of today are extremely dense and durable, with global EV manufacturers often offering battery warranties of 5 to 8 years. Thus, potential takers of EVs can rest assured that electric vehicles will not betray their pockets. Even after usage of the vehicle, one can recycle the battery and use it further.
5. EVs are slow
The environmentally-friendly quotient of EVs does not compromise their performance on any account – including parameters such as speed and acceleration. EVs are fast, with most EVs capable of easily accelerating from 0 to 100 kmph in less than 10 seconds. This is because of high-density batteries made available by global OEMs. The ultra-modern lightweight material that goes into making EVs aerodynamic also helps. We can feel that the power delivery is available at all times as long as the battery is charged. However, one must note that deriving high performance also consumes a greater amount of battery charge.
While the presence of the EVs in India in terms of numbers is not so big, it is only recently that EVs have registered an increased uptake in the mind space of citizens, due to the increasing pollution concerns. One of the factors driving the popularity of EVs in India could be the growing environmental awareness amongst the masses.
As part of its commitment towards the environment, MG ZS EV will be launched in India in early 2020.
Author: Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer, MG Motor India.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or any employees.
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