By Anuj Guglani, Founder & CEO – World Auto Forum Group
Let’s begin with the top questions on everyone’s mind :
• How long does it take to charge one ? Are there enough charging stations
• What if there’s a breakdown ? Would I find roadside assistance, especially on the highway ?
•Kitna Deti hai ? What’s the Resale Value ?
Let’s understand how Electric and normal cars differ.
Price of Acquisition of an EV – Electric Vehicle
Currently electric cars are expensive due to the low numbers. For example the Tata Nexon EV is around 40% more expensive than its fully loaded petrol counterpart. So you end up spending as much as a Creta for a Nexon EV. Even the insurance is a bit more expensive for an EV as the batteries need to be covered. Most EV makers give around 8 years warranty on the batteries for a stress free ownership experience.
Where do you save the money then ?
The Registration fee of an electric car at Delhi is nil. Otherwise for a car like MG ZS EV priced around Rs 25 Lakhs, one would end up paying Rs 2 Lakhs just for registration! Dealers still charge around Rs 7,000 as file charges which too you can negotiate not to pay!
Cost of Running
The cost of running is around Rs 1 per km! In Delhi, if you have a separate power meter and you use less than 200 units, your EV running cost would actually be zero! Most people with local commuting, charge their EVs just once a week.
There is nothing much to service. No engine ,transmission etc. You hardly spend Rs 3,000 in the first year. The usual stuff like brake pads. suspension steering would surely be there.
Overall Cost of Ownership Comparison
If you drive a petrol or a diesel vehicle, your cost of running can vary from Rs 6 to 10 per km. So if you drive 15,000 km an year and keep the car for 3 years, you spend Rs 2.7 L to 4.5L on fuel.
In an electric car, you spend around Rs 1/km so that’s 45,000 in 3 years. So you recover the additional premium that you spent to go electric.
Cost of service of a petrol or diesel car can easily be Rs 8,000 to 10,000/ per service if not higher. Three years means at least 3 to 5 services so that comes out to around Rs 36,000 to 45,000/- which in the case of an electric car would be below 20,000/-
How is an electric car different from its petrol or diesel counterpart ?
So there’s no engine. There’s essentially a motor, a controller and batteries. The batteries are placed at the base of the car which actually give better stability and less body roll. Most EVs come with IP67 compliant batteries and motor to make it easy to drive through the flooded streets during monsoons. Still one should use discretion while doing so. But companies say it’s no problem unless you are grille deep in water!
More Mileage in the City than the Highway !
The electric cars while braking use the energy released to charge back the batteries. This is called regenerative braking aka ‘Regen’. So actually in stop and go traffic there’s more regen hence in the city one gets better mileage or range as its called. On the highway it’s less braking and more continuous motion so lower range.
EVs are very peppy. They come with normal and sports modes. They can be a rocket in sports mode but at the cost of driving range. If one can minimise sudden accelerations, one gets a longer range. They are super silent as there’s no engine. Power delivery is continuous hence no shift shocks.
The Tata Nexon EV gets you around 250 km if you have got the software update. Earlier it was less. MG ZS EV gives you practically 320 km on a single charge. The Hyundai Kona can belt out a range of 250 km.
An EV behaves differently in summers and winters. In higher temperatures, the batteries can heat up and can reduce the range or take longer to charge. Some EVs even experienced sudden loss of charge while they were parked though most companies claim to have fixed this issue.
Charging your EV
When you book your EV, the car maker sends across their team to install a charger at your home or parking. That home charger typically charges the car upto 90% in around 8 hours. It takes a long time to charge from 90% to 100%
There’s also a portable charger which can fit in any 15A socket. That takes around 12 hours to charge full. Then there is this DC fast charger which is at car dealerships and select locations. They claim to charge upto 80% in an hour. But fast chargers tend to reduce battery life and should be used sparingly.
So What stops us from an EV Revolution ?
We have seen the acquisition cost of an EV is around 40% higher than a petrol or diesel car. But the most important thing which impedes an EV Revolution is Range Anxiety. ‘What if I get stranded in the middle of nowhere and there’s no help’, cried the reluctant EV customer!
Well most EV makers are promising roadside assistance, trained technicians and mobile chargers in case of need. But it’s a fair concern. For local commute there’s no problem but for highway travel you have to plan your route and the chargers on the way.
About the resale value, it would be lower as the prices of batteries would reduce considerably in the next few years.
Most Electric car users say initially they were reluctant for the change over but now they swear by them. They are much smoother, virtually free to run, noise free & emissions free.
In fiscal year 21, the total electric cars sold in India were 5905 units. In Dec 2021 there were 2522 electric cars sold just in a month out of which 93% were Tata Nexon EVs!
Looking at the global EV trends, the future surely seems electric and electrifying!