On the cusp of buying a new car but can’t decide between ICE and EV? Yes, it is a hard decision to make since there are a lot of ICE options available but a handful of EVs. Both have their pros and cons, but is it the right time to invest in an EV? In today’s article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both and the right time to invest in an EV.

The transformation of future mobility has begun in most countries. Both Central and state governments in India have been showing interest in the future of mobility. Introduction of new emission norms, improvement in EV infrastructure, exempting road taxes, providing subsidies on purchase of EV and the indigestible hike in fuel prices are some of the steps taken to encourage EV makers and buyers. 

Before investing in EVs we need to consider few key points: 

  1. Cost: It is not cheap to buy an EV! The still-evolving battery technology is complex and consumes a lot of investment in R&D. For example the Tata Nexon starts from Rs. 6.99lakh whereas the Nexon EV starts at Rs. 13.99lakh ex-showroom. If you plan on holding on to the car for a long period of time then investing in an EV seems viable. The initial cost is high, but the maintenance and the cost of charging an EV are less compared to ICE. 
  2. Mileage/Range: When it comes to EV we have to worry about the range because the lack of infrastructure limits its use. EVs at the moment are recommended for short-distance travel. For the long-distance commute, it takes some planning which we Indians fail to do. 
  3. Infrastructure: EV infrastructure is still being updated in many cities. It is absolutely rare to find a charging station on highways and in small cities. This is where conventional cars take advantage of EVs. EVs can be charged in a regular wall socket but consumes a lot of time compared to fast-charging stations. 
  4. Options: The two-wheeler market is filled with many options at the moment but the carmakers are yet to catch them. Hyundai’s Kona was the first fully electric vehicle to be introduced in India. Later came the MG ZS EV and the Tata Nexon EV. All these EVs being SUVs limits the number of buyers. 
  5. After-sales support: Customers will expect good after-sales support from the carmakers. All EVs in the market come with a particular warranty period for the battery. They should also provide service networks aimed specifically at EV with trained professionals. 

Is it the right time to buy an EV? 

The EV passenger car segment could have huge potential in the future, but out of 25,640 EVs sold across the country in March only 10% were four-wheelers and the rest 90% have been two and three-wheelers. About 400,000 EVs registered from 2019 in India only account for 0.2% of the vehicle sales. 

According to Economic Times, a study conducted by lubricants major Castrol, most consumers in India would consider buying an EV by 2022, but most of them also believe that it won’t be until 2025. They also found that on average a consumer in India expects a price point of Rs. 23 lakh, charge time of 35 minutes and a range of 401kms from a single charge. This represents the ‘tipping point’ to achieve mainstream EV adoption in India. 

The existing EVs are almost up to mark with the tipping points, but it needs improvement. Few users have complained about the range and charging time which is not ideal as suggested by the manufacturer. So there is room for improvement and carmakers are working hard on it. 

Taking all this into consideration, we think that an EV could be probably used as a second car, using it as a primary car has its disadvantages. Over time the range, charging time, price, infrastructure and options will improve. It is then suggested to consider an EV for primary use, both daily and long-distance commute. 

Restriction for new OEMs

The government has committed to a greener future and has been implementing new regulations to achieve this. However, the high import duties have been holding back many car makers who plan on bringing in their EVs as a CBU (Completely built unit). 

Tesla is one such carmaker in talks with the government to reduce the import duties. This reduction will not only bring down the price of the EV but also encourage other OEMs to bring in their EVs. Let us know your thoughts on high import duties in the comments below.  

Also, read : Hyundai supports Tesla’s statement on Import Duties