Electric Vehicle? Range Kitna Hai?

“I have to drive 200 km everyday, my work is such.” – Truth? No, you don’t, unless you drive for Ola Cabs.

“Makes no sense when we go out for long highway drives. Electric Vehicles have a long way to go till we buy one.” – Truth? Over 300 km long drive? Probably once a year.

“I live in a city with a cold harsh winter. Batteries in such conditions die if the car is left untouched for a week. Its a big problem.” – Truth? Very cold weather will reduce battery range a bit but EV batteries dying is unheard of. Just drive easy for a while and let the battery pack heat up to optimum temperature and you’re in long range business.

Either way, it doesn’t make sense to buy a fossil fuel burning car solely to cater to that 1% scenario (choose any from above list).

Unfortunately, that’s still what all of us are doing each day, even as thousands die due to the toxic air quality in our cities.

How much do we drive everyday?

On an average, a household in Delhi drives their vehicle 42 km everyday. [9594 km divided by 230 days of driving annually, based on this research]

india-average-vehicle-distance-driven-per-year
Table Source: INDIAN VEHICLE OWNERSHIP AND TRAVEL BEHAVIORS: A CASE STUDY OF BANGALORE, DELHI AND KOLKATA (2016) – The University of Texas and Cornell University.

It is safe to assume that most of us living in and around India’s Metros/ Tier 1 / 2 cities drive between 40 to 60 km everyday. Now on a day-to-day basis, 40-60 km is more than enough for you to get to work, run an errand or two, and get back home.

Even today, a home grown Mahindra e2o with AC running, heavy metal blaring and spirited driving will suffice that average daily driving need. The solution is right out there and needs no further development.

electric-car-charging
With overnight charging possible at home for all of us, range anxiety is probably one of the most insane EV myths planted deep inside our desi hearts.

Aversion to EVs in India is probably cultural

We agree that there are still some legitimate issues both in the technological and psychological realms that need solving. Yes, the proper infrastructure to support millions of EVs across this myriad country is still lacking.

But in India most of the issues moving forward are clearly cultural. There is a segment of the population that will not switch to an electric vehicle unless they have the exact same experience they have with their diesel cars now, at a lower initial cost along with lower recurring costs. Then there are perception and image issues we have when it comes to our cars. Sigh.

This leads to completely unrealistic and unnecessary expectations of a 500+ km range and a 5 minute recharge time. Today, only battery swapping can fulfill that expectation. However, it’ll be virtually impossible to do that at both a lower initial cost and a lower use cost.

Reminds us of all those people buying a Jeep because they’d love to drive it off-road. Funny enough as they will never actually get around to doing it.

Most of us however, are unwilling to compromise on anything. We are like that only. 🙂

You see, every time there’s an advancement, the naysayers move the goalposts. These folks will do whatever it takes to convince themselves and those around them that EVs are not the answer yet.

They might say 200 km today but next year it will be 400, 500, and so on.

The problems of EVs having a practical driving range on a single charge are solved to a large extent already. Refusing to adopt at this phase is based on ideology or identity or culture, not technical challenges or impracticality.

The way ahead for EVs today?

We have really bounced this question around and we think for now, any 2 car household should consider at least 1 EV as their primary car and the second depending on what they need, that the EV can’t provide.

Even with 1 EV and 1 ICE (or Hybrid) the EV will probably do 70% of the driving or more since it will always be the “default” car to use around town or anytime a range shorter than 100 km or so is necessary for a trip.

Someday soon, they’ll have electric cars with a 500 km range and very fast charging, but in the mean time, there are choices out there already. As a young, forward thinking, change embracing nation, it is time we exercised that choice to ensure a greener future.

Common sense will tell you that an electric vehicle’s advantages over a fossil fuel burning car are numerous. It is almost a no-brainer.

If you are buying an electric car soon and your sibling/ parent/ friend/ spouse/ mother-in-law thinks you are making the wrong decision, just ask them this question. (Note: N/A for mother in law!)

Why is it that Electric Vehicles can’t be desirable for what they can do, rather than what they can’t?

 

 

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