India is witnessing a large shift from ICE vehicles to sustainable electric vehicles, aided by government policies and consumer awareness. Consumers have started accepting the change because of the advantages of electric vehicles such as lower running costs, their positive impact on the environment, and economic opportunities.
However, like any other new technology, electric vehicles also have some disadvantages too. In this article, we will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles in India.
What we cover:
- What are electric vehicles?
- Types of electric vehicles
- Components of electric vehicles
- Advantages of electric vehicles
- Disadvantages of electric vehicles
- Pros and Cons of electric vehicles
- Solutions to the disadvantages
- How do electric vehicles work?
What are electric vehicles?
Electric vehicles are the alternative mode of transport that run on electricity instead of petrol, diesel, or gasoline. EVs use a large battery to store electrical energy, which powers the electric motor to propel the vehicle. In simpler terms, an electric vehicle is like a conventional car but it runs on a really big rechargeable battery.
Instead of going to a filling station to fill up with fuel, electric vehicles are charged by plugging them into an electric outlet or an EV charging station.
Currently, in 2023, most electric vehicles come with Lithium-Ion batteries having a strong Battery Management System for controlling their charging and discharging.
In FY2022-2023, the electric vehicle industry in India grew by 173% with 1,181,600 million units in overall EV sales, compared to the sales figure of 4,57,346 units during FY2021-FY2022.
Types of Electric Vehicles
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
Battery Electric vehicles are fully electric vehicles that run only on electricity. BEVs are powered by large Lithium-Ion battery packs which store electrical energy, used as an alternative to fuel.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle(PHEV) combines the benefit of both the electric and conventional ICE. They offer extended driving ranges compared to fully electric vehicles, as they can switch to their internal combustion engines when the EV battery is depleted.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
Hybrid Electric Vehicles combine the use of an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. However, unlike PHEVs, Hybrid electric vehicles cannot be charged externally in charging stations. Instead, they utilize the regenerative braking feature and the internal combustion engine to charge the battery.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity, which powers the electric motor. One of the main advantages of FCEVs is their quick refueling time.
Also read: Types of electric vehicle chargers in India
Components of electric vehicles
When it comes to electric vehicles, we mostly think about an electric motor and a battery. However, electric vehicles are built on advanced technology and a combination of components to provide a smooth and efficient driving experience. Here’s a list of all the components of an electric car:
The battery pack in an EV stores the electrical energy to power the electric motor. The size and capacity of the battery determine the range an EV can travel on a full charge. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in modern electric vehicles due to their high energy density and longer lifespan.
The electric motor in an EV converts electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy to propel the vehicle. Electric motors offer instant torque, providing quick acceleration and a smooth driving experience.
Power electronics convert the DC (direct current) from the battery pack to AC (alternating current) that powers the electric motor. Power electronics also regulate the EV charging process when the vehicle is plugged into an EV charger.
The onboard converter allows the electric vehicle to be charged from any external power source. It converts the AC power from a charging station or a regular electric outlet into DC power, which is stored in the battery pack. The DC-DC converter provides the desired level of power to the electric motor.
Regenerative Braking System
Regenerative braking system in electric vehicles captures and stores energy that is typically lost during braking, by converting the kinetic energy into electrical energy. It helps to improve overall energy efficiency and extends the vehicle’s range.
Thermal Management System
The thermal management system maintains an optimal working temperature for the battery pack, electric motor, and power electronics while driving to ensure longevity and performance. It mostly uses liquid cooling or air cooling methods.
The charging port connects the electric vehicle to an external power source for charging. It is typically located on the exterior of the vehicle and comes in different types, such as Type 1 (J1772) or Type 2 (Mennekes), depending on the countrywide EV charging standards.
Vehicle Control Unit (VCU)
The Vehicle Control Unit is the brain of electric vehicles, as it combines the battery management system, power electronics, and motor control, to ensure seamless operation and optimal performance.
Now we know the types of electric vehicles and their components, let’s understand the advantages of electric vehicles.
Advantages of Electric Vehicles
The adoption of electric vehicles offers lots of advantages for the environment, economics, and the job sector. Since their launch, EVs have gained significant popularity because of the benefits of electric vehicles. Here are all the major advantages of electric vehicles:
The major advantage of electric vehicles is that they are energy-efficient. It is because they convert a higher percentage of energy from the electrical grid into actual wheel power. In comparison, the fuel-powered car wastes lots of energy through heat dissipation. This efficiency leads to lower energy consumption and decreased dependence on fossil fuels.
Electric vehicles run on electricity stored in batteries, producing zero tailpipe emissions, thereby significantly reducing air pollution and combating climate change. The main benefit of electric vehicles is that they are environmentally friendly and offer a sustainable mode of transport.
Low running costs
Electric vehicles are cost-effective in the long run. The cost of EV charging is significantly lower than the cost of petrol, diesel, and gasoline, resulting in lower running costs. The major advantage of electric vehicles is that you do not need to worry about running fuel prices.
To promote the adoption of EVs and fully utilize the benefits of electric vehicles, the Indian Government offers friendly incentives and subsidies under schemes such as FAME II and PLI. These incentives are offered on the purchase cost, GST reductions, and reduced loan interest, making EVs more affordable and accessible to a wider range of consumers.
Currently, there are 23 FAME-approved electric car models in India with a maximum subsidy of up to Rs 2.5 lakh, depending on the variant selected. These subsidies are provided for consumers to fully utilize the advantages of electric cars and scooters.
Quiet and Smooth Driving Experience
Electric vehicles are the best solution for noisy urban environments since they operate very quietly. The main advantage of electric vehicles is that there is no engine noise and they reduce noise pollution. Moreover, the benefit of an electric car is that the electric motor delivers instant torque and a smooth driving experience.
Transition to electric vehicles enhances energy independence by reducing the reliance on the import of fuels, which ideally costs 12 trillion Indian rupees yearly. One of the important advantages of electric vehicles in India is becoming self-sufficient in meeting energy needs.
Since electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, they contribute to improved air quality, resulting in significant health benefits. Reduced air pollution leads to lower respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. By choosing electric vehicles, we can create cleaner and healthier communities for ourselves and our future generations.
The rise of electric vehicles has enhanced the technologies and innovations in the automotive industry of India. EV manufacturers are constantly improving battery technology, and developing more efficient electric motors. These advancements not only benefit electric vehicles but also influence other sectors, such as renewable energy and energy storage.
Electric vehicles present a great investment opportunity for individuals and businesses. As the demand for EVs continues to rise, investing in electric vehicle companies, battery manufacturers, and charging infrastructure offers good returns.
The adoption of electric vehicles has opened up new job opportunities across various EV sectors in India. As the demand for EVs increases, there is a growing need for skilled professionals in manufacturing, research and development, battery technology, and charging infrastructure development.
While there are numerous advantages of electric vehicles in terms of sustainability and reduced emissions, they also come with several disadvantages that should be carefully addressed. Let’s have a look at the drawbacks of electric vehicles.
Disadvantages of electric vehicles
Being a new and cleaner technology, electric vehicles offer lots of environmental and economic advantages. However, like any other new technology, electric vehicles also have their drawbacks. Here’s a list of disadvantages of electric vehicles
Limited Driving Range
One of the major disadvantages of electric vehicles is their limited driving range. While newer EV models come with enhanced range, most EVs still provide a lower range compared to ICE vehicles. It is a concern for those who live in areas with limited charging infrastructure or travel long distances often. Currently, most affordable EVs in India provide a range between 100-210 km, on a full charge.
Longer Charging Times
Another drawback of electric vehicles is the longer time required for charging. Even with fast-charging options, it may take several hours to fully charge an electric vehicle. This creates a problem for the use of EVs in sectors such as ride-hailing and last-mile deliveries.
Limited Charging Infrastructure
While efforts are being made by the Indian government to expand the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, their numbers are still low. This is a major disadvantage of electric vehicles in India, especially in rural or remote areas, where finding a charging station can be a difficult task. Currently, there are only 1575 DC fast charging stations in India, which is clearly not enough.
Higher Initial Cost
For a price-sensitive country, the initial cost of buying an electric vehicle in India is very high due to the imported EV batteries and the use of high-end technologies. The price of a normal conventional car starts from Rs 4 lakh in India, while the price of EVs starts from Rs 6 lakh – Rs 7 lakh in India.
As of now, the numbers of mass-market electric cars and electric scooter models are very limited in India. This limitation can make it challenging for buyers to find an electric vehicle that meets their specific requirements, preferences, or budget.
Higher battery replacement cost
Electric vehicle battery degrades over time due to factors like temperature, usage patterns, and charging habits. It results in a reduced driving range and decreased efficiency of the vehicle. Replacing these EV batteries costs a lot of money, which is another big disadvantage of electric vehicles.
Pressure on the grid
Supporting the growing number of electric vehicles in India is a major challenge for the electricity grid. EV charging during peak hours creates a lot of pressure on the grid since they are not upgraded to support the EV ecosystem. It can lead to power outages or reduced charging efficiency.
Impact of battery production and Disposal
The production and disposal of electric vehicle batteries impact the environmental impact negatively, as the mining of Lithium, cobalt, and nickel to make these EV batteries release toxic fumes. According to a report by earth.org, the production of a single electric car battery releases 4 tonnes of CO2, and producing 1 tonne of Lithium requires 2 million tonnes of water. Similar fumes are released from the battery recycling industry in India.
Low Resale Value
Due to the rapid advancement of EV technology and the introduction of newer EV models with improved features, the resale value of older electric vehicles is too low. Buyers hesitate to purchase a used electric vehicle due to their lower range and underdeveloped technologies.
Pros and Cons of electric vehicles in India
Since electric vehicles are growing exponentially in India, we identified some of their benefits and drawbacks, along with the advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles in India. Here are some of the pros and cons of electric vehicles in India:
|Being energy efficient, electric vehicles convert a higher percentage of energy to power without any loss.||The initial cost of buying an electric vehicle in India is very high due to the imported EV batteries and the use of high-end technologies.|
|Electric vehicles run on electricity without producing any carbon emissions, so they help to reduce environmental pollution.||Having an underdeveloped charging infrastructure, the number of EV charging stations in India is comparatively low.|
|Electric vehicles are cost-effective in the long run since EV charging is cheaper compared to fossil fuels.||Most affordable electric cars in India come with small battery capacities offering a limited range between 100-200km, which is quite low.|
|The government of India offers incentives on the purchase cost, GST reductions, and reduced loan interest, making EVs more affordable for consumers.||The time required to charge an electric vehicle is high, which creates a problem for sectors such as ride-hailing and last-mile deliveries.|
|Electric vehicles operate very quickly without any engine noise thus reducing noise pollution.||The Limited number of electric vehicle models creates a challenge for buyers to find an electric vehicle that meets their specific requirements, preferences, or budget.|
|Electric vehicles enhance the energy independence of India by reducing the import of fuels.||Older EV models have underdeveloped technologies which lowers their resale value in the current time.|
|Electric vehicles do not produce any emissions and improve the air quality, reducing various potential health issues like asthma, and bronchitis.||EV charging during peak hours creates a lot of pressure on the grids, resulting in power outages and lower charging efficiency.|
|R&D and innovation of electric vehicles are enhancing overall automotive and other related sectors such as renewable energy and energy storage.||The replacement cost of an electric vehicle battery, once it completes its cycle is quite high.|
These disadvantages of electric vehicles are identified and addressed by the Government of India by collaborating with automotive giants and EV startups. Here’s how the government is playing an active role in solving these issues.
Solving the disadvantages of electric vehicles
Being a new technology, there are various advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles in India. With to vision to become carbon neutral by 2030, the Government of India has identified these major drawbacks of electric vehicles in India and worked out various models to address them. Here are some of the major solutions rolled out by GOI for the electric vehicle industry in India
Government Schemes and Policies
The Indian government has introduced various policies and programs to promote the use of electric vehicles in the country. These initiatives, both at the central and state levels, align with the government’s ambitious target of achieving 100% electric vehicle adoption by 2030.
FAME II was launched to promote the adoption and manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicles in India with a budget of Rs 10,000 crore. It is introduced to support and incentivize 500,000 electric three-wheelers, 7,000 electric buses, 55,000 electric passenger vehicles, and 1 million electric two-wheelers in India.
PLI scheme was launched on June 2021 to boost the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and their components in India, for the production of affordable electric vehicles with an outlay of Rs 18,100 crores.
Battery Swapping Policy
The Battery Switching Policy was launched in India to address the range limitation of electric vehicles and long charging times through the unification of electric vehicle battery standards.
It reduces the import duty on mineral ores, important for manufacturing Li-ion batteries. Import duty on Nickel ores and Nickel Oxide is reduced to 0%, while the duty on Ferro Nickel is reduced from 15% to 2.5% in India.
Subsidies on electric vehicles
Several state governments have introduced their individual EV policies to incentivize EV buyers and manufacturers in the state. Subsidies are a major advantage of electric vehicles for the Indian market. For electric scooters, the subsidy offered is between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per kWh of battery capacity up to a maximum of Rs 25,000. Subsidy offered on the purchase of electric cars in India is between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,00 per kWh of battery capacity up to a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh.
How electric vehicles work
Electric vehicles work by the simultaneous working of interconnected ev components. Here’s how electric vehicles work:
- Electric vehicles (EVs) have a battery that stores DC power.
- To make the electric motor work, the DC power from the battery is converted to AC power.
- When the accelerator pedal is pressed, it sends a signal to the controller.
- The controller adjusts the speed of the EV by changing the frequency of the AC power sent to the motor.
- The motor connects to the wheels through a cog, causing them to turn and propel the vehicle forward.
- When you apply the brakes or the EV slows down, the motor switches to acting like an alternator.
- As an alternator, the motor generates power, which is then sent back to the battery for later use.
In conclusion, there are lots of Advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles for the Indian market. EVs present a promising solution to the problems caused by conventional ICE-powered vehicles. The consumer acceptance of EVs in India is led by the environmental and economic advantages of electric vehicles. However, they come with some disadvantages too, which we discussed in this article. After addressing these drawbacks, the Indian electric vehicle market size of USD 4,230 million in 2023 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 68% to reach USD 1,52,000 million by 2030.
Major reasons for consumers not opting for electric vehicles are range anxiety, lack of charging infrastructure, general awareness of EVs, and the higher initial cost of purchase.
Electric cars have a range of advantages such as lower running costs, low maintenance, purchase subsidies, tax rebates, and lower interest rates on EV loans.
Electric vehicles offer a wide range of benefits such as energy efficiency, lower running costs, no maintenance, government subsidies and incentives, and job opportunities.
Currently, there are four types of electric vehicles – Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). They are classified based on the availability of electric motors and batteries.
Like any new technology, electric vehicles have drawbacks too, such as limited range, higher charging time, higher initial cost, and limited models. However, these issues are being addressed by introducing tax rebates and purchase incentives for EV buyers.
Electric scooters in India are offered with subsidies between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per kWh of battery capacity up to Rs. 25,000. While electric cars in India are offered with a subsidy between Rs 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 per kWh of battery capacity up to Rs 2.5 lakh.
Electric vehicles are as safe as conventional vehicles powered by internal combustion engines because they come with advanced technologies such as BMS, thermal cooling, and ABS.
The future of electric vehicles in India is very bright. The electric vehicle market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 68% to reach USD 1,52,000 million by 2030.
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