With the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and the government's push for clean energy, consumers in India are increasingly faced with the dilemma of choosing between an EV and a traditional fuel-powered car. While EVs offer several advantages, such as lower fuel costs and zero emissions, they also come with high upfront costs and limited charging infrastructure.
EV models often come with a heftier price tag than their traditional counterparts. For instance, the petrol base model of the Tata Nexon EV is currently priced at Rs 8.09 lakh ex-showroom (Mumbai). The diesel base model is priced at Rs 10.99 lakh ex-showroom, and the cheapest EV model is priced at Rs 14.47 lakh ex-showroom. So the price difference is over 6 lakh from the petrol variant.
But fuel expenses of EVs are very cheap compared to petrol or diesel cars. However, the initial price and battery replacement cost deter customers from buying an EV. It is vital to explain if upcoming technologies will reduce the initial cost of the EVs and should customers wait till then.
Chakravarthy Chukkapalli, Managing Director of Quantum Energy Limited, said another factor that should not be overlooked is that the maintenance costs are significantly lower due to their simpler mechanical design, which means fewer moving parts and no need for oil changes. To make EVs even more appealing, many regions offer enticing incentives and tax credits, effectively reducing the overall cost. He says that as the EV market grows, economies of scale will likely lead to lower prices. He noted that in 2022 alone, nearly 9,89,000 EVs were registered, marking a more than threefold increase compared to 2021. Chukkappalli added that while predicting the future of EV- adoption remains complex, it's conceivable that EVs might claim half of the market within the next 5-10 years.
While advancements in battery technology, production efficiency, and charging infrastructure are expected, Chukkapalli advises against waiting for these innovations to lower costs. He says that current EVs in the market already offer significant savings on fuel and maintenance.
According to K Vijaya Kumar, the CEO of Lectrix EV, EV scooters currently make up just 5 per cent of the e-mobility market. If one EV company can offer high-quality e-scooters at around Rs 1 lakh rupees that can last 7-10 years, similar to petrol scooters, that company can win the market. Beyond this price range, it may take more time to conquer the market. Kumar also mentions that, like other vehicles, EVs will continue to improve with advancements in battery technology and safety features. This, coupled with increased EV production, could lead to lower operation costs and more affordable prices in the future.