Updated: Nov 26, 2019
“Psst! Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Do you think you will be able to complete the journey in an Electric Vehicle (EV) without any hassles?”
“Ghar mein to bijli pahuch nhi rahi hai ab gaadi charge karne ki bhi dikkat. Also, bro bina engine sound ke kaise chalega? It's so creepy!"
What's the big deal anyway?
Electric vehicles! The current hot topic in the auto industry, with multiple manufacturers launching or going to launch EVs in India. But is India ready for the electric revolution?
Are we ready yet?
Everyone has their opinion on the emergence of Electric Vehicles and so do we. So, here is our 2 cents on what is slated to be the biggest revolution in personal and public transport. But before we start let me remind you, that below you can also share your opinions in the comments section below.
Where do we start? The government, car manufacturers or the people who will eventually buy these vehicles? Hmmm! Obviously, the government in today’s world is the easiest one to lay the blame on. The government has serious plans to replace the Internal Combustion (IC) vehicles with cleaner and greener electric vehicles. While there’s no lack of appreciation for this move, this has left a lot of our local petrol-heads heartbroken. (We feel your pain bro!) But if we have to save the planet, we have no other choice as of now.
On a serious note, Electric Vehicles are the reflection of a pollution-free world; but they have some downsides. There are concerns by the end users specifically around charging times and obviously it’s not easy as filling fuel at a fuel station on dreary highway. The biggest concern is lack of infrastructure and basic supply of electricity across the country and the general consensus is that our country is not ready for electric vehicles at this time.
Our country is not ready for electric vehicles at this time.
Post multiple discussions with experts and the potential customers, we have listed the problems they think are going to impact the sale of these vehicles or at least cross the mind of potential customers:
India has always been struggling with the electricity crisis. Voltage fluctuations and power cuts have reduced but not eliminated completely. Stuck at home due to power cut will make you nip your hair. Not an ideal situation!
Many parts of the country don’t have electricity supply. This has to be rectified on topmost priority. People living in dark will also need light to plug in the car to the switch.
Many hydropower plants become insufficient during summers due to lack of water. An alternative source of power has to be adopted. There should be a backup, who wants to rely on just one.
Due to the insufficient production of electricity, power cuts are normal. EVs will require electricity which will increase the demand ending up in more crisis. Wrestling at charging stations to get the EVs charged will create a ruckus for sure.
Lithium-ion batteries are imported in India, which makes them expensive due to the taxes. India needs to manufacture these batteries which will help in keeping the price of EVs low. Prices of the current EVs are not justified so are the electrification plans of the government.
Currently, the affordable EVs have a very short range and the EVs with longer range costs an arm and a leg. Selling out a kidney for longer travelling isn't a good idea either.
Time to drive the middle ground.
Pfft! Now we think we have been ranting for some time now and it’s time to stop. We had started with the intent to focus on the solutions instead of mourning about the problems that these vehicles or we will face.
Going partially electric is a solution.
Hybrid is the term used for such vehicles, which are a combination of IC engine and electric motor.
In our point of view, going partially electric is a viable solution at this point of time. Partially electric? What does that mean, you ask? Does that mean cutting an EV into half and fixing them on our current IC engine vehicles?
Obviously Not! But hey, we definitely love the idea of chopping up an EV and I am sure someone out there has done something like that. Jokes apart, these kinds of vehicles are called Hybrids. A hybrid vehicle with a combination of IC engine and electric motor. Relax! They come in such configuration from the factory, you won’t need a hand driller to get the job done.
Hybrid cars. What are they? How do they work? How will they help with pollution reduction?
Hybrid cars use two power sources which are generally IC engine and electric motor. The advantage of Electric motors is that they have good torque, they are efficient in initial acceleration while the IC engines are efficient in maintaining high speed. Hybrid vehicles switch between these two power sources accordingly, which results in higher efficiency and less fuel consumption. These vehicles come in two different configurations.
● Plug-in hybrid
Brace yourselves for we are diving deep now. You never know, you might get smarter, or at least be able to, by the end of this article. You can thank us later!
Hybrid vehicles have two power sources that are IC engine and an electric motor. The primary power source of these vehicles is the IC engine which is assisted by an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by a battery which gets charged during the operation of the IC engine. A process called regenerative braking also charges the battery whenever brakes are applied. These cars don’t require a plug-in to charge the battery.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles have a similar setup like hybrid vehicles. The difference these vehicles have is the presence of bigger batteries that can be charged by the plug-in. The IC engine is used separately to power the vehicle once the battery gets drained. The battery gets charged during the operation of the IC engine, but that happens at a slow rate due to the presence of bigger batteries. These are partial electric cars that have a back up of IC engine.
Ugh! OK enough with this technical bla-bla. The point we are trying to make is that hybrid vehicles are way cleaner than the conventional IC engine vehicles. These vehicles have higher efficiency and are suitable for the Indian market. They are a good alternative to bridge the gap for now. Currently, the hybrid powertrain is available on the high-end cars which are inaccessible to small car buyers. If this technology will be made available on the low budget cars, more and more people will buy the cars as normally as they buy IC engine cars. These cars are adaptable without any need of charging stations set up or any big plan.
You may love It or hate it, the reality is that the future is electric there is no way we can escape it. Now the onus remains with the government and automakers to make this a viable solution for the India market.
We think EVs are MotoMazing, what do you think? Would you consider buying an Electric Vehicle? Share your views and concerns in the comments section.