With much attention being paid to alternative fuelled vehicles around the globe, much is being expected from the Government in terms of the Budget 2015. Although the mission supporting electric cars and hybrids was initiated by ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, not much ground work was visible realistically. With hopes that the new government will step up NEMMP 2020, optimistic manufacturers continue developing more electric and hybrid cars for the country in a hope to see change by doing and not saying. The results were appalling with dwindling sales in the segment and people shying away from EVs and Hybrids as expensive alternatives to less efficient diesels and CNG fuelled vehicles.
Why should you buy Hybrid and Electric cars?
The reason for pushing EVs and hybrids is that they are based on platform that burns minimal or no carbon fuel at all. EVs have no exhaust output at all as they run on batteries, and hybrids optimise power generation along with batteries so as to burn the least amount of fuel as cleanly as possible. This means the air that you breathe is cleaner in the cities than the one you do right now. And with the ever increasing development and vehicle sales in the passenger market, this surely becomes the need of the hour. The current amount of particulate matter is bad enough to cause lung diseases, imagine the state of atmosphere air in the next 5 years.
To understand this you must realise how EVs and hybrids help reduce pollution by their working mechanism. In broader terms an electric car is like your mobile phone or laptop. You charge it, use it and then recharge it again, simple. An electric car has an electric motor and a battery. Electric charge from the battery runs the motor which in turn drives the wheels. It does not cause any exhaust emission thus making it cleaner to run and you only have to plug it in the socket to recharge it. Hybrids are a bit more complicated but even convenient. Under the bonnet is a normal engine coupled with an electric motor and batteries. The engine charges the battery and drives the wheels, while the driving and electrical systems can be also handled by the battery. This makes hybrids efficient and cleaner to run through cities.
Why are Electric cars and Hybrids priced higher?
It is all down to the expense of the batteries. A battery running your mobile phone or laptop bears less strain than the one moving an entire car. And because the ore and processing cannot be done in India, they and related complex electronics have to be imported in from other countries thus making them expensive. But also do remember that because there is an electric motor running the car, you really do not have to consider about servicing these cars often thus saving you maintenance costs.
Supporting poor sales?
This is exactly where the Government steps in. Subsidies and additional benefits shall work wonders here for this particular segment. News reports across newspaper and internet suggests that already a Rs 800crore plan for the development of electric and hybrid cars and supporting infrastructure in set for the Union Budget2015-16. Even manufacturers like Mahindra on their level are doing the best they can to make these cars more affordable for the general populous. Mahindra recently slashed the Rs 7lakh price of the e2o by Rs 1.7lakh by providing consumer rental fees for the battery. This implied that you will be charged Rs 2,599 per month against a relative drive distance of 50,000km over a period of 5 years. However the effort goes in vain until the people and government realise the advantages of the effort. Mahindra has been singing the praises of EVs for long now but with no attention being paid, the manufacturer will decide to stop further development on the e2o platform.
And then are the hybrid vehicle sales which have also never seen fruitful sales ever in the country. Models like the Prius and Camry Hybrid from Toyota’s stable and the recently launched BMW ActiveHybrid 7 are among the very few sold in the Indian market. The reasons for customers shying away from these are attributed to the extremely high price tags they carry against the much competitive and efficient diesel counterparts. Government support could bring up the sales of these models thus reducing the ever increasing carbon footprint in the congested metropolitan cities.
What to expect from the Union Budget 2015-2016?
According to the current claims by the government, a large demand for low cost hybrid and electric vehicles (xEVs) is expected mostly for short-distance urban commuting (averaging 50-100km per trip). Another parameter is that these cars need to be rugged enough to perform reliably in the summer and in the monsoon season in India. With an estimate of nearly 6 to 7 million units by 2020, the National Mission for Electric Mobility shall be pushed ahead in the upcoming budget. Also one key highlight in the budget plan is the focus product scheme that should see a potential EV or hybrid to take centre stage.
We expect the government to set examples by including EVs and hybrid cars in its own fleet and educating the advantages for doing so. And what can also be done is extend the period of Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate to double or more for hybrid cars as they are already very environment friendly. People are also concerned that how to recharge an EV once they run out of it. Government should actively set up an infrastructure for recharge points across major cities to encourage EV car buyers. Picking up collective responsibility, Modi administration is expected to educate and support the production and development of EVs and hybrids for a better, cleaner and quieter tomorrow for the further generations to come.
Source : CarDekho