Rounding up E Mobility in India in 2019

2019! I can say the year when Electric Vehicles kick-started in India. We witnessed some launches, some policy change from the government for both good and bad. In this article, I will try to rewind what happened in the EV sector in India.


Let’s first talk about 4w EV launches in India


The first major launch was Hyundai Kona Electric having 39.2kwh lithium polymer battery. ARAI claimed a range of 452km. The real-world highway range of Kona is near 300km and can go up to 340km ish in city driving depending on how you drive. Priced at 23.71 lakh. 

Tale a look at some blog & forum posts we have

  1. Kona Electric India – Road Trip Experience

  2. Hyundai Kona Electric – A practical car that makes driving Simple

  3. 800km+ Kona Trip - Part 1

  4. 800km+ Kona Trip - Part 2


Next on December 5, was MG ZS EV unveil. With MG claimed range of 340km+, it seems a good buy. We can only tell what it will be in real life when one of our members gets a hand on one. But the other tech seems good. Connected car. Shows stats in App. Not new in the world of EV(Tesla doing since 2012), but new in Indian EV 4w. 


On 19 December happened Nexon EV unveil. Tata promising a range of 300+km (again, can only tell after any member gets a hand on one). Design and tech seem exciting, but I have my doubts on the range since I saw the blunder on Kona by ARAI. Saying anything about it as of now would be too soon. Launch expected in January.


This year tata also launched extended range Tigor EV with MIDC claimed range of 213km with 9.44L for the fleet user (due to FAME2 subsidy) and 12.59L for personal users (no FAME2 subsidy for private buyers). Tigor EV is converted to EV from its ICE equivalent. While I won’t recommend for personal buyers, but fleet owners should go for it. Savings for them would be huge in the long run.


Now, coming to some major Electric 2w launches this year.


First let’s talk about the Tesla electric 2 wheelers in India, Ather Energy! Priced at 1.31L and can give you a city range of 85 or more km. It’s connected scooter & it has OTA updates). All stats on the app and has a screen on the scooter for GPS. Ather is currently selling every vehicle that they can manufacture. They also established a charging point- Ather Grid. Read on our blog the 5000km Ather 450 ownership review.


Next up was the launch of Revolt RV400. With a real-life city range of up to 125km, it’s an attractive option. Tracking and stats via the app. Launched in Delhi & Pune for now, the revolt has established swap stations, named Revolt Switch. The revolt has its MRP(My Revolt Plan), for the most expensive version, 3999/ month for 37 months. It includes service(consumables too) & insurance for the first 3 years also. Read on our blog the detailed Ownership Review of RV400.



Next was the Bajaj Chetak Electric unveils. With a claimed range of 85-95km. It seems like a nice scooter. Now all are on the bajaj if they want to sell it or not. With sales beginning next year, we hope to get a real-life ownership review.


There were some launches from Okinawa, Hero, and PureEV too. I am not into them much. But our friends at Plug-In India have lists and reviews of all-electric scooters.  


We did the economics of owning ICE 2w vs EV 2w for 3 & 6 years.

So what we infer from this table:-

  1. In 3 years, TCO of Revolt is much lower than Pulsar 180 & 150, while nearly 20k more than splendor +.

  2. In 6 years, you nearly save 1.5L on choosing revolt over Pulsar 180 & 1L over pulsar 150.

  3. In 6 years, you save nearly 30k on choosing revolt over splendor+.

  4. In 3 years, you save nearly 25k on choosing Ather over Activa.

  5. In 6 years, you save nearly 1L on choosing Ather over Activa.

So owning EV not only saves environment (who cares), but also money (everybody cares!).


We EV clubs have to approach via financial thing, because alone environment can’t attract all. And not everybody cares about environment.


Electric 3 wheelers are gaining traction in India. Huge cost savings to owners compared to ICE equivalents. Their cost is decreasing & subsidies from govt. In some small cities you will even find companies whose name you have never heard. Some part of it is unorganized, but 3w & 2w will lead the EV revolution in India. Electric 3 wheelers sold more than ICE 3w first time in India!


The government of India sanctioned 5595 Electric Buses in the country under Fame 2 this year. This is a major push. Apart from private vehicles, there is much more need to electrify commercial vehicles like buses and trucks. J&K, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Himachal, Assam have started services of E-buses in some cities. Delhi and UP are also expected to get E buses soon.

While we are at it, Infra Prime unveiled heavy duty 60 Tonne electric truck with range of 400km when unloaded & 200km range when loaded. Best wishes to them & hoping to see them selling soon. Financial Express reports - Launched on 1 August, the IPLT electric truck is currently not up for commercial sale and will only operate in transport fleets. The manufacturer plans to roll out five trucks in the next 1.5 months and produce 50-60 trucks per month starting January 2020 from its plant in Ghaziabad.


Charging infra


Coming now to the next major hurdle for EVs, charging infra. This is true that India lack in it. But sometimes it is being stretched as issue more than it is. Now situation here is like Egg & chicken with EVs & chargers. One can’t exist much without each other. Chargers won’t come if there aren’t EVs on road. Some people think that they first need 10s of thousands of chargers everywhere first to buy a EV. YOU DON’T! Did we have 60000+ fuel station when ICEV(internal combustion engine vehicle) started in country? No we didn’t.


If there hadn't been any demand there would have been no increase in stations. With EV in markets, charging infra will develop.


They aren't going to come overnight, they will come slowly. But what we need is a start! If we didn't start and just look for problems, not solution, then it can't happen.


People who have their own home here, would be the one shifting to EV first because they can home charge.


People discussing charging infra are missing point of overnight charging at home/apartment parking/street parking. I don't think you would need charging in day time then(unless you drive 300+km a day, which most don’t).


Also important is charging at work place. Offices, private or govt, should be made mandatory to have charging point prioritizing those employees who can't home charge. I think a part of problem is solved.


What people here (in India) don't understand that you won't always have to charge at public charging points, like you can only fuel up at petrol pumps. Most of people in US do home charging or at work, even current EV owners in India. Understand this.


What else needed is charging at parking spaces. Malls, hospital, general public parking. Everywhere. Not a hard thing to do. But we have to start. Demand it. They aren't going to build it if we don't ask them. Hotels in other countries show that they have charging points.

Setting up a charging infra is so easy. There is a plug, there is a charging point.


So for city driving I don’t think it is any big of a problem(unless you live in a apartment where society doesn’t allow you a charging point). These above things will be a reality, just a matter of when.


Our blog - Where are chargers, But where are EVs?


Yes we definitely need DC fast charging on highways for long distance travel. And some good things are happening. From DC fast I mean atleast 100kw(not 20-25kw as we have currently).


MG partnered with Fortum for DC fast(50kw) chargers at their dealers.


BHEL has setup 5 DC fast chargers on Delhi – Chandigarh highway.


Some DC fast chargers have been installed in Delhi too.


Namma Bangalore is doing good working building charging infra in city.


Govt of India is planning two highways as Electric Vehicle Corridor by 2020. On the Yamuna Expressway (between Delhi and Agra) and the National Highway 48 (between Delhi and Jaipur) 18 charging stations will be setup near toll plazas on the two routes.


So I can say that charging infra is coming up & you don’t need to worry much if you home/work charge.


What were the Government policies in 2019?


As of now, these states have proposed/implemented EV policy – Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttarakhand, UP and Tamil Nadu.  Bihar, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Orissa are also reported to be prepping EV policy. 


All states have set aggressive deadlines for E mobility, charging infra and manufacturing. Delhi, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu implemented 0 road tax for EVs (each state has their limits). Which is of great benefit for EVs, making them more competitive and attractive compared to ICE equivalents (on which road tax can vary from 8-20%).


Delhi Government recently passed its EV policy recently aiming for 25% EVs by 2024, waiving Road tax and registration fee. Mandating for all new housing and workplaces to have at least 20% of spots of parking for EVs. It has been reported that societies are not allowing EV owners to have a charging plug-in parking.


Tamil Nadu has some aggressive incentives for EV manufacturing. 100% reimbursement of SGST on EV sold & manufactured in state till 31.12.2030. Related industries to be provided 100% exemption on electricity tax till 31.12.2025. Land for sale/lease for manufacturing to get stamp duty exemption till 31.12.2022. Subsidy on land upto 15% & 50% if setup in southern districts. And some more incentives.


In the after election budget, Center Government made some announcements for Electric vehicles. And I couldn’t have been happier.


The government of India reduced GST on EV to 5%. This is huge since ICE is taxed at 28%. It is a kind of indirect incentive for customers.


The government also reduced GST on chargers to 5% which was earlier at 18%. It also gave a tax break of 1.5L a year and a maximum of up to 2.5L on the interest of loans taken for EVs. This will be different from other savings you do.


This year, the government also planned bids for multiple battery factories of total 50Gwh. This would be a major push as we don’t have battery manufacturing in India and also lithium isn’t available here. There was news that GOI was securing lithium supply from Australia.


According to LiveMint reports, India will need six such gigawatt-scale facilities (of 10GWh each) by 2025 and 12 by 2030. While this doesn’t include the export market potential, the base scenario envisions 11 such Giga factories by 2025 and 24 by 2030.


Indian Oil is also planning a 1Gwh battery factory. And developing Air-Metal batteries. As of now I am not aware of any EV using such batteries, but maybe in future. Good to see this coming from a oil company.


Then came the slowdown in Auto Industry & big auto tried to blame it on EV push & some other things. Govt had to bend in front of big auto. Govt announced some packages. And removed any kind of deadline for shift to EV.


In 2017 GOI announced their goal of 100% EV sales by 2030, which was even applauded by Elon Musk at that time. I was happy but had my doubts. Then in 2019 govt reduced this deadline to 30% EV sales. Then Nitin Gadkari announces that there is no deadline. From aiming 100% to whatever!!


Nitin Gadkari said EV will follow natural progression, which I heavily doubt.


Just before this was announced Niti Ayog was planning a ban on ICE 3w by 2023 & ICE 2w by 2025. Just imagine effect it would have! I don’t think that plan is in consideration any more.


Let me give you example of natural progression. Mahindra Delayed launch of XUV300 EV from 2020 to 2022. Maruti which is bringing its WagonR EV next year, won’t make it available to public (just for fleet operations). Mahindra owned Peugeot electric scooter is being made in India & exported to france. But not sold in India, because according to Anand Mahindra India’s Electric 2 wheeler market isn’t viable! Really? Heard of something like Ather energy which is selling more than they can make.


I hope for some seriousness & efforts from manufacturers in 2020.


Some other which came in 2019 are Yulu, Lithium Urban and Blu Smart.


Yulu is a rental service of a small electric bike. They recently partnered with Delhi-Metro. One can unlock a e-bike via app & use it. This also ensures last mile connectivity as it also allows the user to keep them overnight for a fee. They are also operational in other cities like Mumbai. Bajaj invested $8 Million in Yulu recently.


Lithium urban is a fleet service consisting of EVs from Mahindra & Tata. They have partnered with several companies for the transportation needs of employees.


Blu smart is an electric taxi service. Operational in Delhi, Mumbai. As of 8 November, they crossed 1 million miles & had 140 EVs in service being daily driven nearly 30000km. So they must have crossed 2 million miles by now & have added some more cars to their fleet.


There is a lot happening in E mobility in India. And it is not possible to cover in a single article.

 

Charged up to see what happens in 2020!


Nikhil Chaudhary


Tesla Club India


*Blog also published on Let Me Breathe platform

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