Electric Vehicle (EV) India Update

Recently, a buddy of mine Jatin K. (@jatinkarani) bought an electric vehicle (EV). He ended up buying the Tata Nexon EV and the above picture is from a recent drive where 6 owners got together. I was invited and it got me thinking it’s time to write an update on the EV car scene in India.

Right now there are 6 EVs you can buy in India and a couple of them are not worth mentioning but I will anyways. I’ll sort them from most expensive to least expensive

  • Mercedes-Benz EQC, 765 Nm torque, Rs. 1 cr.
  • Hyundai Kona, 395 Nm torque, Rs. 24 lakhs
  • MG ZS EV, 280 Nm torque, Rs. 24 lakhs
  • Tata Nexon EV, 245 Nm torque, Rs. 16 lakhs
  • Mahindra e20 Plus, Rs. 9.5 lakhs
  • Mahindra eVerito, Rs. 8.4 lakhs

Let’s first talk about the 2 EVs I really could care less about and that is from the house of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M). The e20 Plus is actually the Reva, which is the company that M&M bought in 2010. They plan to launch several more EVs like the e-KUV 100, again another car not worth writing home about. And that’s the crazy thing, because at the other end of the EV spectrum is the multi-million dollar Pininfarina Battista which produces around 1,696 Nm torque. Owned by who? You guessed it, M&M. Within the same industrial group they have the most sought after EV and a bunch of duds!

Back in India, minus the M&M products there are 4 EVs you can buy. Granted the Mercedes-Benz EQC will probably sell no more then 12-15 vehicles but I think it’s a great halo product for them. So you are really left with 3 mainstream vehicles – Hyundai Kona, MG ZS EV and the Tata Nexon EV. I’m really waiting to see what Kia has up it’s sleeve. Kia is a sub brand of the South Korean Hyundai Motors. In India, Kia launched in July 2019 with their first vehicle the Seltos and it has consistently been in the top 3 SUVs sold in India.

Maruti the largest car maker in India is absent from the EV space and that’s not surprising. They really benefit from the governments’ protectionist tariffs that help them continue to crank out sub-par products with zero innovation. As an example, India is a tropical country and having cooled ventilated seats would be a great option to offer. Ventilated seats have been offered for many years on expensive German cars but not on Indian cars. It finally took Kia to launch ventilated seats on a sub Rs. 10 lakh vehicle – the Sonet. This is Maruti’s home turf and target price range but yet they are sleeping at the wheel when it comes to innovation.

On the whole EVs are expensive in India and the government needs to give economic incentives to push the sales but that seems high unlikely at this point. Although recently the Delhi government has decided to wave off the road-tax for EVs for the next 3 years, so that is a start. Of course, everyone is waiting for Tesla to come to India but this market is so small I’m not sure they will be here anytime soon. I really hope I’m wrong.

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