An electric India soon? No.

Why India is going to be the last country to be fully electrified.

Yes, I said it. India will officially be the last country to be electrified in the automobile sector. 

What options do we have right now to purchase an electric car? For the middle class, it’s a minimum expenditure of 15+ lakhs for a baseline electric car with city range, i.e Tata’s Nexon EV, India’s bestselling electric car. 15 Lakhs is way too high an expenditure for any lower-middle-class family. 60% of India’s middle-class families purchase cars like Maruti’s budget spectrum offerings such as the Altos, S-Pressos, WagonRs and Renault’s KWID and some with little more money to spare go for lower variants of the Tiago for the added quality and 4-star NCAP safety rating. All of these cars cost well below 6 lakh INR for the mid-trim variants with dual airbags, ABS and EBD (excluding the Alto).  Frankly speaking, the cost they’ll save with current fuel prices of petrol going 107 not out and diesel reaching three digit units, is not going to get them back 10 lakhs, atleast not anytime soon. Let’s calculate – an average family drives about 100-200kms a month (NON-COVID PERIOD ESTIMATE) and all of these cars’ fuel efficiency put together and averaged is 20km/pl. So, monthly costs are (Rs.110 for petrol [rounded off]) (Rs.100 for diesel) – Rs.700/month (Petrol) and Rs.600/per month (diesel). Now, remember, diesel cars typically cost atleast 1,00,000 more, so that cost also must be recovered. So per year, Rs.9,400 on Petrol and Rs.8,400 on diesel. Even if a car is owned for 10 LONG years, the cost is not fully recovered, neither for petrol nor for diesel. 

Let’s assume an upper-middle-class family wants to purchase an electric car and he likes a Tesla, so the US price in INR is 30 Lakhs w/taxes and subsidies. In India – 60 lakhs. Why, you ask? CBUs or completely built up units attract 100% duty- who cares if we want to electrify India – we want to make money. Why again? India has a considerable amount of its GDP that it gets by mercilessly taxing crude oil without sufficient reasons. Bhakts say it’s to make EVs sell more. Bhai, agar petrol na le paye, to 15 lakh ka EV ka paisa kaha se aayega?  Strike one – Yikes! Too damn expensive, normally and also arbitrarily.

Say, you got the bank balance and you have a nice shiny new EV. You’re cruising on the highway, but your range is just 10KMs left. What do you do ? (a) Think that I should’ve thought (b) CALL FOR HELP (c) Call the EV assistance number provided. (d) Time to get those gym days back- push it to the nearest charging station. 

Erhmm..! Sorry for my very sarcastic options – you see, in India, EV charging infrastructure is like getting a seat in a Mumbai local train on a Monday morning – very very hard to find. So, long trips – nah nah, strike that one off. 

Let’s say you are lucky and find a charging station – with a turbocharging point! You’ll be charged up in… 1 hour. That’s the time a TESLA takes with Fast charging to get to 80%. 

Whereas I just give the petrol guy my wallet and fill up my tank and I can zoom off in 5 minutes! EV’s are definitely slow drinkers of electrons. 

Also, most people live in flats and parkings are external and this is India. Even if you manage to set up a point, some kid will disconnect the charger for his childhood ‘mazaak’ and you’ll be in a soup. 

Charging issues – Strike 2. 

Want to go to Goa from Bombay in an EV – nope – not happening. No EVs in India have a claimed mileage of over 450kms, so not happening because – no charging infra, no range. Range anxiety is a big issue. 

That’s it. 

Three strikes and it’s out. 

India, the future is electric, yes. Is the future near? Absolutely not.

About Abhilash Kar

Tech and Car geek . Debater and agathokakological . Join me on this beautiful tech and car journey at
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