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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | EV industry battling through challenges
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Today, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers have started introducing products, addressing pressing issues like battery, charging infrastructure, charging time, efficiency and others. Manufacturers are trying to reach customer expectations in order to increase adoption ratio. This article discusses challenges ahead of EVs.
As Indian economy is caught up in a slowdown, the future of the automobile industry is pinned on electric vehicles. And EV technology in India is, in turn, is highly dependent on innovation and government incentives. At the same time, the government has to tackle the slowdown and invest in future-ready technology at the same time. This has led to a contrast situation within the Indian electric vehicles market, exerting more pressure and has led the future of EV technology in India, in chaos.
While there is no deficiency of government incentives in India, the lack of adequate infrastructure and unaffordable price of EVs are felt by both industry and consumers equally.
To understand where the next phase of development will happen, one has to look at the current problems for EV adoption in India. These range from systemic issues to consumer mindset, all of them has a cumulative effect on the future of EVs in India.
Challenges for EVs
Some of the key issues evident today are such as inadequate charging infrastructure, reliance on battery imports, dependability on imported components and parts, incentives linked to local manufacturing, range anxiety among consumers, high price, lesser options for high-performance EVs, inadequate electricity supply in parts of India, lack of quality maintenance and repair options and is affected by broader automobile industry downturn.
When it comes to the future of electric vehicles in India, the major focus will be on propping up the infrastructure related to EVs.
India has around 650 charging stations in 2018, whereas China had over 456,000 charging points in the same year, according to the reports. In addition to charging points, the lack of private parking spaces is also noted as a hindrance for electric vehicles adoption, and the lack of affordable renewable energy means charging EVs will put pressure on the already stressed coal-powered electricity grid.
According to automaker Maruti Suzuki’s research, 60 per cent of Indian customers don’t have their own parking space. There is no way they can charge the vehicle.
High price points
Further, the average cost of electric cars in India is around Rs 13 lakh, much higher than the average Rs 5 lakh for economical ICE vehicles. Also, the price of electric scooters and motorcycles in India is between the price range of Rs 70,000– Rs1.25 Lakh, as compared to Rs 30,000– Rs 40,000 cost range of ICE bikes and even lower for scooters.
Vinit Bansal, Founder and MD, EV Motors, says, “It is going to be difficult to make a good value proposition immediately unless the cost comes down substantially. According to him, a mass segment of EVs are still likely to cost two-and-half times more than the same vehicle type powered by a conventional petrol/diesel-run engine.”
Worry over Range
Range anxiety is what consumers suffer from knowing that the electric vehicle might not have sufficient range to take them to their destination. This is deeply linked to the lack of charging infrastructure in the country, and while conventional vehicles can be refueled at petrol stations, such regularised infrastructure is not yet available for EVs.
The infrastructure for electric vehicles is still ambiguous and uncertain, which would affect the price and acceptability of the vehicle among Indian consumers. Toyota too has recently halted the manufacturing of electric and hybrid cars for the Indian market, citing inadequate charging infrastructure.
Ultraviolette Automotive has recently launched their electric two-wheeler which charges in 50-90 minutes and runs for 130 km range with battery swappable options. It is also can reach 1-100 km speed in just 7.5 seconds.
While no one doubts that the Indian government is doing all it can to push EVs, the Faster Adoption and Manufacture Of (Hybrid) And Electric Vehicles (FAME) policy has been criticised by the industry in the past. The government had initially focussed on vehicle standardisation with FAME, which was sidelined for an emphasis on manufacturing. At the moment, the government is busy drafting an EV charging infrastructure framework.
The government is also planning to tax non-electric vehicles heavier even if the sales of electric vehicles might not justify such a forced transition. And this has put undue pressure on automobile OEMs.
The future growth trajectory for the Indian EV market will depend on the strength of the EV infrastructure available, as well as the level of awareness about the need for EV adoption. Indian youth is not just aware of critical societal issues but is also more willing to take the initiative to address these challenges.
Apart from these, some EV manufacturers are looking ahead to launch their luxury offerings, targeting it into premium segment. Manufacturers are of the opinion that it will help to successfully run the products in a higher price range. Manufacturers like Tata have already launched Tigor EV in around Rs 10 lakh bracket. This is a testimony that companies will be eyeing mass market offerings in the market.
We also need more policies and regulations that provide tax breaks and financial assistance to both EV manufacturers and customers. Doing so will encourage EV adoption by bringing down the cost to the end-consumer, thus incentivising more individuals to purchase an EV. Additionally, better support infrastructure for the manufacture of vehicles and auxiliary parts within the country will bolster local economic growth and job creation, apart from strengthening the supply chain.
Developing a strong EV support ecosystem should also be a priority to help the EV industry unlock the next phase of its growth.
It is going to be difficult to make a good value proposition immediately unless the cost comes down substantially. A mass segment of EVs are still likely to cost two-and-half times more than the same vehicle type powered by a conventional petrol/diesel-run engine.
Vinit Bansal, Founder and MD, EV Motors
Faster Adoption And Manufacture Of (Hybrid) And Electric Vehicles
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