It looks a win-win situation in more ways than one for common users, as you can do your bit for the environment while commuting to office. But, remember, electric cars are not like petrol or diesel cars, and before you rush to buy one, consider these factors.
Choose the right driving range: The driving range is the most important factor to consider before purchasing an electric vehicle. Your EV would cover as much distance as its battery would allow it — in one-time charge. You don’t need to bother much about that with conventional vehicles because you can easily refill them with fuel at the next gas station. But that’s not the case with charging stations. Their numbers are gradually increasing across India, but you would still find it difficult to locate them near you.
Electric vehicles can be charged in two ways – fast and slow charging. In fast charging, usually, it takes 60 to 120 minutes to charge your car. Slow or alternate charging takes more than 5 to 6 hours.
Car manufactures also provide specified driving range figures, but to get a clearer idea you should look for real-life reviews. Usually, an electric car with a driving range of 100km should be enough for your office commute, but if you are looking for inter-state travel, then there are some high end cars which can offer a driving range of over 400km.
Price and tax benefits: E-cars come with a hefty price tag. Thanks to complex technology and expensive batteries, electric cars are far more costly than conventional ones. A small electric hatchback may cost you more than Rs. 7 lakh.
To ease the burden, you can avail benefits and incentives offered by the government, and cut down the overall cost of your car. Check all incentive schemes and benefits, such as reduced GST. You can also discuss these aspects in detail with car dealers to get a fair idea. Remember, that it is because of their high rates that e-cars have not yet been able to get many customers. Efforts are on to replace cobalt batteries with nickel ones, but it could take some years before we see that happening.
Specifications & Software updates: You need to pay attention to specifications to choose an e-vehicle which matches your needs because they are available in a wide range of battery packs and electric motors. An insufficiently powered electric car can ruin your aspirations and cause much trouble for you.
Things which ensure a smooth e-car journey, are there in the technical details – go through them thoroughly. Once you have the car, always keep an eye for software updates. Because of their complex and advanced technology, manufacturers regularly release software updates or patches to enhance performance. Usually, these updates are offered free of cost to owners, but in some cases manufacturers charge for them. They are a must to ensure 100% efficiency for your car.
Charging Infrastructure and battery life: You might see e-cars dominating the passenger vehicle market in the coming years, but at present the charging infrastructure in the country is inadequate. There are charging stations in metro cities, but you won’t find any in rural India. Consider this fact before making the final decision.
Just like an internal combustion engine in a conventional car, the battery is the heart of your e-car. These batteries are very expensive, and replacement could cost a huge amount. Pay utmost attention to the battery life before investing in an e-car.
Maintenance and other costs: Owning an electric car means that you need to maintain it properly to ensure reasonable efficiency and longevity. Any sort of lapse in maintenance could cost you dearly because spare parts of these vehicles are very expensive as compared to conventional cars. This technology is still in the nascent stage in India, and it can be handled by only a few mechanics.
Manufacturers also offer maintenance services but that would cost you a huge amount. Depending upon the charging infrastructure in your city, additional costs could also shoot up significantly because you need to spend extra money on home-charger or charging station installation. Besides, there is a charging station maintenance cost that would come with it.
Brands and e-car models: You are not spoilt for choice of e-cars in India. There are only a few options available at the moment, and you can finalise the best suited based on affordability. According to the CarDekho website, currently, there are 9 electric cars on sale in India. Among these, the Strom Motors R3 is the cheapest EV while the Mercedes-Benz EQC is the most expensive electric car in India. Upcoming e-cars in India include Audi e-tron GT, Mercedes-Benz EQA & Renault Zoe among others.
|Tata Tigor EV||Rs. 11.99 – 13.14 Lakh*|
|Audi e-tron||Rs. 99.99 Lakh – 1.17 Cr*|
|Tata Nexon EV||Rs. 13.99 – 16.85 Lakh*|
|Jaguar I-Pace||Rs. 1.05 – 1.12 Cr*|
|Strom Motors R3||Rs. 4.50 Lakh*|