Change to Charge
Published on : Saturday 22-02-2020
Those who scoff at the idea of electric vehicles should realise that mobile phones were also laughed at when introduced in India in 1995, says Ranojoy Mukerji.
As the world increasingly grapples with pollution and industrial waste ramifications, one of the biggest contributors to the mess is seen as coming from the world of automobiles. India is no stranger to this, with deviating reports on the amount of pollution that is caused by the world of transport. In the transport sector, which can be broadly categorised as public and private, there is now a firm push for electric and the move to veer away from internal combustion engines. The reasons for this are many folds. The first of course is to wean away the dependence on fossil fuels and the way some nations have a stranglehold over the rest of the world. The next, of course is related to pollution and how tailpipe emissions are contributing to greenhouse gasses.
In India too, the push is significant for electric vehicles. Currently, our Government is not too keen on hybrid-electrics or alternative technologies like Hydrogen. Going fully electric is the new mantra. Currently over 100 models are available in the two-wheeler arena, which gives a wide choice to consumers. From simply bicycles with electric motor assist to full-fledged motorcycles, there is a choice for everyone. Even established companies like Bajaj have recently entered the space with a retro looking model called – Chetak! Companies like Hero have been present in this area for long and a lot of newer companies are coming in. the good news? Right from basic commuter levels to premium, there is something for everyone. Even Harley-Davidson has committed to bring its fully electric model, the ‘LiveWire’ soon to India.
In the four-wheeler segment, the Reva was one of the first cars to be fully electric in India but did not do well due to a plethora of reasons. Now, however mainstream players are coming into the market. The first to showcase this was Hyundai with its Kona electric. Touted to have a range greater than 400 kilometres, it surely sets range anxiety at ease. The next offering has come from MG – the latest poster boy of the Indian automotive world. After a stellar showing with the Hector, the company’s next offering is the ZS EV, which again has a range greater than 340 kilometres. Both these vehicles offer multiple ways of charging at home or outside. Industry leader Maruti Suzuki is going to show off quite a few full-electric models in this year’s Auto Expo in February and every mainstream manufacturer is going to show at least one electric car in its line-up. Prestige brands like Mercedes-Benz have unveiled the EQC in India – which they will be launching here soon, and Audi is set to bring in its E- tron, its full-electric SUV. All in all, starting 2020 all auto majors will introduce an electric vehicle in their model space.
The Government too is pushing electric vehicles majorly. Already in cities like New Delhi, the Government has already set up 12 charging stations and many more are coming up everywhere. The push has to come from all involved, so even companies like MG are setting up charging stations along busy roads. Our Hon’ble Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari, has announced that the new superhighway linking Mumbai to Delhi will have public charging points every 25-30 kilometres. Besides this, there is also a huge push to set up charging points all over the country.
Rome was not built in a day. Those who scoff at the idea of electric vehicles should realise that mobile phones were also laughed at in the same way on their introduction in India in 1995. Today, everybody has one. Similarly, when the Indian consumer realises that driving an electric vehicle not only saves the environment but is majorly pocket-friendly thanks to almost zero servicing costs, he or she will take to it like a duck takes to water. A cleaner, greener environment is just a charge away.
Ranojoy Mukerji is a Delhi-based motoring journalist and auto analyst. He describes himself as a hedonist with a love for cars, food, whisky, cigars, travel, wine and everything else that is fine!
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