Electric vehicles gathered a considerable amount of market share in the US by starting with luxury cars and then moving down-market with the help of Tesla. India’s nascent transition to EVs is heading in the opposite direction.
Alternative ways to charge electric car
Most of the Indians will get their first experience of electric vehicles from public-transit systems and corporate fleets. Owing to the relatively low ratio of car ownership in India which is 20 per 1,000 citizens as compared 800 per 1,000 citizens in the US; it becomes relatively less challenging for consumers to shift towards electric vehicles.
Companies such as Bangalore-based Lithium Urban Technologies Pvt which provides EV vehicles to corporations are expanding as India aspires to end sales of internal-combustion engines by 2030.
“In the next five years we’ll have 10,000 electric cars and buses,” Sanjay Krishnan, the firm’s co-founder, said in an interview. He also added that the company hopes to have its first electric bus as early as this year.
“We started with mass mobility and will then go to an aspirational model — just the opposite of Tesla,” Mahesh Babu, chief executive officer of Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd., said last month at a conference in New Delhi. “It’s important to think about public mobility when thinking of electric transport.”
Mahindra and Uber have partnered together
Mahindra and Uber Technologies Inc. partnered together in November with an aim to supply hundreds of electric vehicles for Delhi and Hyderabad. The company has also partnered with Tata Motors Ltd., to supply battery-powered vehicles for India’s first 10,000-car tender, aimed at government employees.
It is being predicted that the growth of EVs in India will happen in a similar manner like China. Consumers at China were introduced to electric vehicles after heavy public investment in infrastructure including buses, taxi fleets and electric railways. According to BNEF about 75 percent of vehicles in car-sharing fleets are electric.
Lithium Urban uses Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.’s electric-car model e2o to ferry corporate employees. The fleet is cheaper to run than internal-combustion engines, and its use by corporations assures vehicles travel the minimum 175 to 200 kilometers a day required to break even as reported by head of Lithium Urban Mr. Nandi.
“It costs under one rupee per kilometer on an electric car compared with four to five rupees on a diesel or petrol vehicle,” Nandi said.
The company is also setting up charging stations at its clients’ locations and is working with the government to build 60 of them in and around New Delhi.