Is India Ready for Electric Vehicles?
Electric Vehicles have started entering the Indian market but it needs much more in order to make it big
For a long time, the world has had been trying to find replacements to petrol and diesel for running its vehicles and to minimize its pollution level. The emergence of the concept of electric vehicles (EVs) opened a new dimension to the car manufacturers in the market. Leading global market players have been trying their hands in the space. But coming to the Indian space, we can see a number of brands with a focus on electric vehicles are operating in public transportation with EVs. “The Electric vehicle eco-system is in nascent stages in India. EVs and EV tech has come a long way in the last few years,” says Sameer Ranjan Jaiswal, CTO of Fae Bikes, commenting on the yet-to-bloom Indian EV market.
Last month, the government’s extension of its support for EVs came through Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme has catered $1.4 billion in subsidies over three years for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers.
Although the country is large in terms of its geographical expansion, when it comes to its population, it is way larger, compelling the people to spend more time on roads while commuting. India is one of the strongest global markets in the two-wheelers space. Considering the market’s higher inclination towards two-wheelers, it is logical that industry experts like Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki are reportedly trying their hands in the space. Along with the big names, startups are also holding tools in their hands to build their EVs for the Indian roads. The country is economically still in a position where the majority of the population prefers and avails public transportation, as a result of which we are seeing EVs for the public commute on the rise.
Rakesh Munnanooru, the Founder & CEO of WhistleDrive thanks the various local companies like Mahindra, Hero and Maruti who are pushing the boundaries ahead. “Because of them, we’re seeing the change in public perception about electric vehicles. Government and Media are also playing a crucial role in giving this industry traction by providing proper incentives and ample advertisement and coverage space stressing the benefits like cost-effectiveness, environment-friendly and low maintenance etc.,” he lays down the picture of the market.
But is the Country Well-built to Sustain EVs?
The country is busy manufacturing EVs. It has got the backing from the Central Government also. But some factors are barring the EVs from being compatible with the industry. In order to be EV-ready, the country needs a lot more than only vehicles. So, what are the things that it needs? Operators from the space help point out.
Charging Stations: The lack of charging stations is the biggest speed-breaker. The Founders of FaeBikes and Whistle Drive both share the same opinion. “Setting up charging stations will certainly scale up adoption and give a push for manufacturers to focus as well,” says Munnanooru stating how the charging stations will help scale.
A similar comment came through Fae Bikes’ Jaiswal, who mentions, “A right eco-system for EV adoption would be established if the charging infra is set-up. Government is pushing private sector companies operating in the EV charging infra space to scale the infrastructure.”
Batteries: With the price of batteries coming down, EVs can look at batteries as a clear alternative to charging. This will be another boost to this space. As per the current structure of real estate in India, reshaping every building and make it EV-charging friendly is something that won’t happen in the near future. Vivekananda Hallekere, the Founder of Bounce states, “Instead of this if EV owners can have a place where car batteries can be swapped, it will be great. If the government can make batteries modular on a mandatory basis, it will be good assistance for EVs. Also, if focus can be brought to swapping, it will be the first step to make EVs happen.”
Awareness and Range Anxiety: Jaiswal feels that the two biggest issues hindering EV adoption are lack of awareness and range anxiety. Working in this zone, he expresses, “We are in the forefront of addressing both issues. By bringing EVs directly to the customers, we are changing perceptions and creating awareness about EVs. At the same time, we are removing range anxiety by setting up the infrastructure.”