Top 5 Factors to Keep in mind while evaluating EVs

EVs are the rage in the Indian market, and everybody seems to be talking about them. Many brands announcing their foray into the EV passenger car segment. The competition seems to be heating up.

India is still at a nascent stage but with each new entrant, the interest in Electric cars seems to gain momentum. The EV buying process might seem similar to that of a traditional fuel car but there are quite a lot of factors to consider before you make up your mind. If you are a potential EV owner, what do you base your decision on?

Here are the top 5 factors to keep in mind while evaluating EVs!

Which EV to buy?

The Indian EV market kick-started with the Mahindra Reva decades ago. Ever since then the EV industry has seen tremendous technological advancements. Brands like Mahindra, Tata, MG, and Hyundai have come out with electric cars. But do you know which one you should invest in? The most basic point is to understand your purpose for the vehicle. Some questions you need to ask yourself include

  • How many kilometers will you be driving every day?
  • What will you use the EV for?
  • Does the EV size matter?
  • How much do you plan to spend on buying the EV?

Your answers will provide inputs on which EV brand is best suited for your requirements. Most of the available EVs in the market belong to the quasi-SUV segment. Bigger cars need more parking space and you will need to provision for one.

What is the total cost of ownership for EVs?

The purchase cost of an EV has come down substantially over the years and as the market grows the prices will be pushed down further. But, in the current state, the cost of an EV version is similar to that of a fuel vehicle. The Government of India has announced several incentive schemes to reduce the overall cost of the electric vehicle and that should drive sales northwards. However, don’t expect to save any money through the purchase of an Electric Vehicle.

But the big difference is the total cost of ownership. Recently, the US government declared that EV costs are lower than those of a fuel vehicle. Electric cars require less maintenance due to the lower number of moving parts and this brings service costs down. Auto OEMs are offering extended warranties on the batteries or a minimum guaranteed battery life to push sales.

Let’s do some math. A Hyundai Kona with a battery capacity of 40kW will take around 5-6 hours to charge completely on a 7.2kW charger. That’s 40 units of electricity. BESCOM charges INR 8.5/unit for over 200 units. At that rate, a full charge will cost you around INR 350. The Kona will offer a range of about 300-350 km so that translates to less than INR 1 per kilometer!

On the other hand, let’s take an average mileage of 15kmpl for a petrol car. The per kilometer cost comes to about INR 6.5 at the current fuel prices!

What is the range of the EV and power intake capacity?

In a country obsessed with mileage, range anxiety is a natural occurrence. Even with the ones who only plan to use an EV within city limits! Yes, the driving range is one of the most important factors to consider while buying an EV since you don’t want to be stranded without charge. Before you judge EVs on their driving range, refer to the first point to understand how much driving you will be doing in your EV. Most EVs on offer in India has capacities that range from 200-400 km. That’s decent considering most EVs are used for Intracity travel now.

Another important battery-related matter is the charging intake capacity. What does this mean? It denotes the amount of power the EV battery can take. For example, technically the Tata Nexon with a 30kW battery should get charged in 2.5 hours through a 19.2kW AC charger. However, the AC charging is limited to just 3.3kW per hour so the charging time increases. On DC charges, however, the time is significantly lower since there is no cap on the power intake.

How good is the Charging Infrastructure in your city?

This is related to the previous point as the network of chargers present in your city will impact your buying decision. India is still warming up to the idea of having electric vehicles so charging infrastructure is still in developmental phases. Major cities in India do have a network of charging stations that are either privately run or installed by the local governments.

However, our highway infrastructure is still in the early phases of modernization so EV charging stations are hard to come by. Charging stations are currently limited to urban areas having higher EV penetration and most EV owners have chargers installed at home.

What are the various Service and support options?

EVs have lesser parts compared to a petrol or diesel vehicle but do you know how often the EV needs servicing? Or where to service it? Before buying an EV, talk to the EV brand to understand its service network. Remember you just can’t drive into any service station and get your EV serviced.

Having a good service network helps during breakdowns and emergencies. An EV does need servicing at the same intervals as a petrol or diesel car. Tyre monitoring, brake fluid replacements, wiper repair, etc. are some of the common service items that need to be periodically done. When it is time to service your EV, you need to visit a centre that employs electric car technicians. Another point you can consider while buying an EV is the roadside assistance the automaker is offering.

Electric cars are the future. Wait, they are already here though! With superior performance, low environmental impact and reduced cost of ownership, Electric vehicles are fast becoming a popular choice with consumers. Buying the right EV can be a tricky affair unless you know about how EVs operate, and the maintenance required. And this article will help you in making an informed decision during the process of owning an electric vehicle.

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