With the new FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles) policy and increasing air pollution awareness, electric cars will soon be a normal sight on Indian roads. The government plans to have six to seven million electric and hybrid vehicles on road by 2020. This will save 24 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, around 9,500 million litres of fuel valued at INR 60,000 crore and will create around 3,00,000 jobs by 2020.
Pros Of Electric Cars:
- Zero Tailpipe emissions – Will be a fully green option if the source of electricity is renewable energy. It will still be cleaner than fossil powered cars if the electricity is sourced from dirty coal.
- Cheaper To run – Costs INR.0.50 to INR 1.50 per km compared to INR 5 per km for a petrol car.
- More Efficient – Doesn’t consume energy at traffic signals unlike idling, recovers energy via Regenerative Braking.
- Very Low Maintenance – No oil changes, clutch, air or fuel filters, etc. Brake pads also last longer because of Regenerative Braking.
- Noise Free
- Super Fun – High torque and low centre of gravity makes it more fun to drive.
- Automatic Transmission
Cons Of Electric Cars:
- Range – Typically needs to be recharged after 100 to 200 km which has led to the term Range Anxiety. The expensive Tesla offers a comfortable 500 km.
- Higher Initial Cost
- Charging Issues – Charging time is generally overnight. Fast chargers (20 minutes for 80 percent charging) are an option though.
- Charging Infrastructure – This won’t take time to be setup as all you need is a plug-point.
Electric Cars Currently Available In India:
Mahindra Reva e2o
The Mahindra Reva e2o was the only electric car available in the country until 2 days back when the company launched the e-Verito. It has recently been launched in the UK, albeit with more bells and whistles (slightly more range, better safety, more power). It is a 2 door 4 seater car. The new one has a range of 120 km at ideal conditions (with AC running and slightly aggressive driving), 80 to 90 kms can be expected in the real world. The Lithium battery comes with a warranty of 3 to 5 years. In some countries, such as the US and parts of Europe, it is mandatory by law for EV batteries to have 8 years/150000 km warranty. The car comes loaded with tech – a display that has GPS with nearest charging locations, restaurants, ATMs, etc on the map, estimated range remaining, along with facility to turn on the AC or lock the car from mobile apps.
The car is slightly low on power with 25.5 bhp and 53 Nm of torque. 100 percent torque being available at zero rpm makes electric cars a breeze to accelerate. The top speed is just 84 kmph which means this car is suited for city conditions. Turning radius is a mere 3.9 metres. Coupled with automatic transmission, it is very easy to drive in the traffic. Another advantage of electric cars is that they do not consume any energy when the car is idle, unlike petrol powered ones. Using the AC in traffic will consume energy only of the AC.
It comes with Regenerative Braking which recharges the battery every time the accelerator pedal is let go during motion. The motor runs in reverse as a generator and recovers this energy which is otherwise lost in normal cars. This can recover up to 20 percent energy in stop-go traffic and down hills. Manufacturing process is green too – the factory at Bangalore has natural lighting, cooling, solar power, rain water harvesting, etc. Prices start at nearly INR 5 lakh, excluding the battery costs, which will depend on state subsidies. The battery costs around INR 1.5 lakhs and can also be leased at INR 2,599 per month. It is slightly expensive for what it offers and the range makes it a strictly city car. It is justified if everyday use is predictable (such as a from and to office scenario). The car is ideal as a second car for daily use, or for college goers who would be safer in 4 wheels and low top speed. Low running costs and ease of ownership are tempting, and also not to forget – it’s a lot cleaner for the environment.
Image Source: Mahindra Verito
Mahindra has launched an electric version of the popular airport taxi – Verito. The e-Verito is a proper 5 seater, 5 door sedan. It has 110 km of range which is nearly the same as the e2o. The motor produces 40 bhp of power and 91 Nm of torque. Top speed is around 86kmph, and there is a boost mode too. This seems little low for a car this size. Running costs are expected to be as low as INR1.15/km.
Charging takes 8 hours and 45 minutes at a regular 15 amp plug point. Fast charging can be done in 1 hour 45 minutes. There is regenerative braking like other electric cars. Priced at INR 9.5 lakh, had the range been something upwards of 150 km, it would have been a great buy.
There are a few other electric cars which are expected to come to the Indian market and all you green wheel fanatics, Yessssss, Tesla is coming to India too 🙂
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