Voices Anand Neelakantan Anuja Chandramouli Sathya Saran Ravi Shankar S Vaidhyasubramaniam Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev MAGAZINE Buffet People Wellness Books Food Art & Culture Entertainment NEW DELHI April 11 2021 SUNDAY PAGES 12 India’s New Power Trip ELectric cars have become a conscious choice for many buyers. Automobile companies are looking at India as a big EV market. New models have been launched even during the pandemic. Is it time to change your driving habits? Top Electric Cars Tata Nexon EV Distance per charge: 312 km Price: Starts at `13.99 lakh Hyundai Kona Electric Distance per charge: 452 km Price: Starts at `23.71 lakh Buying an electric car will also get you a road tax discount of `1.5 lakh Tata Tigor EV Distance per charge: 142 km Price: Starts at `9.54 lakh By Ayesha Singh I t is fast, does not cough poison, and costs little to keep going. It is the electric car, autophiles, and there is one—or more—for every pocket and every road. Elon Musk, the futuristic billionaire spearheading the electric car revolution, would be bemused to learn that the Tata-owned automobile giant Jaguar is launching I-Pace, the company’s first electric car in India at double the price of a Tesla. In 2020, four long-range EV models were launched in the country, with the Tata Nexon and the MG ZS EV marking the lower end of the price spectrum, the Hyundai Kona and the Mercedes-Benz EQC the middle and highend, respectively Currently, there are eight EVs available in India; the I-Pace that . costs between `1.05-1.12 crore, Mercedes-Benz EQC for `1.04 crore, and the Hyundai Kona Electric priced between `23.75-23.94 lakh. Mahindra e2oPlus Distance per charge: 99.9 km Price: Starts at `7.57 lakh Mahindra e-Verito Distance per charge: 140 km Price: Starts at `10.11 lakh Cheapest is Strom Motors’s e-car costing between `3-4.5 lakh. Tata Nexon EV’s tab is between `13.99-16.39 lakh. Tata Tigor EV is priced between `9.58-9.9 lakh; MG ZS EV between `20.99-24.18 lakh; and Mahindra E Verito between `10.15-10.49 lakh—these are the on-road prices in Delhi. Joining the electric car race soon is BMW i3, Mahindra XUV300 Electric, and Tesla Model 3. The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles notes a 20 percent increase in EV domestic sales as compared to the previous year. Change is in the driving seat. Three usual questions an average Indian car buyer is concerned with are: fuel “The smart hybrid technology behind my XL6 makes it fuel-efficient, and environment-friendly. It’s got a five-speed manual gearbox with a four-speed automatic speed control. Also, in Delhi/NCR a petrol/ hybrid car has a 15-year life, whereas a diesel car has about 10.” Sameer Gupta, Assistant Manager, Guardian India Operations Pvt Ltd. efficiency, maintenance cost and dealer-network support. Looks too have become important in the car market that changes faster than Lewis Hamilton on Daytona Beach. So why buy an electric car? Pros: Delhi-based Prabhu Sharma, a sales executive at a lighting firm, says the driving experience of an EV is refined. He owns a Tata Nexon EV . “There is no engine noise. Driving long stretches isn’t tiring. Customer care is efficient. I recently drove from Delhi to Amritsar and needed to charge the car mid-way I . called up Tata Motors, which had given me an emergency number. Tech support reached me in a matter of minutes to recharge the battery With that . kind of service, why would I pick anything else?” he asks. “The suspension of EVs is far superior since they weigh more than their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) counterpart. The battery is situated in the The minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, allotted `10,000 crore to Phase II of the Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) scheme middle section of the car, therefore its centre of gravity position makes the drive cushy,” says Sharma. Manoj Nair from Kerala, too, owns a Tata Nexon EV Initially, he . thought the price was quite high. But soon the advantages overshadowed the economics. “I don’t have to pay road tax. There is no maintenance cost. I don’t have to go for periodic filter changes and engine oil changes. I spend around `900 a month to recharge the car battery, which is less than what I would have spent on petrol. The car drives extremely well and there are no issues with the power or torque,” he discloses. Cons: An EV is almost double the price of a conventional car. The Tata Nexon EV goes for `13.99 lakh, while its ICE counterpart is for `7.10 lakh (ex-showroom). There aren’t enough charging stations in the country and many RWAs do not allow installations of charge points fearing electricity problems. What makes an electric car expensive? The answer lies in the battery that currently accounts for about half the cost of the vehicle. It has to be large enough to power all systems in the car. EVs run on imported lithium-ion batteries, and India has very little of lithium. The import bill has grown threefold between 2017 and 2020. However, 1,600 kg of lithium was discovered in Karnataka recently Bloomberg New . Energy Finance research predicts that falling global battery costs—77 percent between 2016 and 2030—will bring down EV prices in the US and Europe by 2025. Morgan Stanley projects the price of lithium batteries to become almost equal to that of ICE vehicles in India by 2026. Mordor Intelligence estimates the Indian battery market will grow four times over the next five years. The GST and import duty on lithium is 12 percent now, despite the automobile industry seeking a reduction down to five percent. But individually motivated solutions are never a problem in India. Odisha sisters Nikita and Nishita Baliarsingh discovered after some serious research that crop residue can replace non-biodegradable lithium. This was how Nexus Powers was born in 2019, according to betterindia.com. The sisters are in business with farmers to build EV batteries using crop residue—each farmer will make an additional `25,000 per 100 batteries from selling their crop residue to Nexus Powers. The batteries charge eight to 10 times faster than the competition, claim a longer life by 20 to 30 percent and are 30 to 40 percent cheaper. The Baliarsinghs plan to go commercial next year. The next power play would be hydrogen. Jaguar Land Turn to page 2 Why should you choose one Cost-effective Better for the environment Cheaper engine maintenance The quietness of the vehicle Tax benefits
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