India’s EV sales numbers offer a modicum of hope that vehicle buyers are starting to increasingly embrace this new type of vehicles. However, is this all we must focus on?
It is not a secret that electric vehicles in India are finding growing acceptance among the masses. In fact, Tata Motors had recently shared that it now receives an average of 2,500 bookings for its EVs. Till some time ago, that average was 300 to 400 bookings per month.
This is, of course, only one company’s stats, but we cannot deny that it does offer a glimmer of hope that vehicle buyers are starting to increasingly embrace this new type of vehicles. This is great, great news for us, especially in reference to India’s pollution problem as well as climate change goals. But is that all? No, it is not; for, even as EV adoption in India increases, such owners continue to face a variety of challenges and issues.
1. Deficient charging infrastructure
There is absolutely no denying that the Indian government as well as several private entities are working diligently to set up a robust EV charging infrastructure across the country. However, these efforts are a tad too late; ideally, a decent enough infrastructure for EV charging in India should have been set up BEFORE the government started to push for mass adoption of EVs in the country. According to official figures, currently there are 427 EV charging stations installed across India. Interestingly, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways says till about July, 2021 5.2 lakh electric vehicles had been registered in India.
What this means is a lot of people are going to shy away from either buying EVs in the first place or using them beyond the city of their residence.
2. Range anxiety
This issue is essentially an extension of the challenge of sub-standard charging infrastructure for EVs in India. After all, if you do not have the option to be able to charge your vehicle whenever you run out of battery, you are going to hesitate quite a bit before you take your EV out. This holds especially true for longer runs and highway drives. Imagine if you could find fuel pumps only at select few locations. It would make things difficult, no?
3. High cost
The cheapest EV car in India at the moment, Tata Tigor EV, gets an ex-showroom price of ₹11.99 lakh for the base variant. Models such as these undoubtedly deliver a great push for the adoption of EVs; however, even at that price tag, it would remain inaccessible for most people. Sure enough, electric two-wheelers are significantly cheaper than electric cars and are immensely popular as well in the country, but they cannot alone drive the mass adoption of EVs in India, yes?
4. Lack of technology standards
A set standard is yet to be achieved when it comes to battery and charging technology for electric vehicles. Now, this may not seem like an issue for EV owners, but it is. We do not know yet which charging technologies will eventually be established as industry standards, which, in turn, causes understandable uncertainty such as about charging equipment for EVs needing upgrades or some such in the future. Or if EV owners will be able to charge their vehicles at public EV charging stations in the future? Oh, and did we mention we do not yet have any standards for EV batteries as well?
These are some of the reasons why we believe EV ownership is not simple in India. Nonetheless, we hope we will change that and soon.