Tata Motors had just revealed that they have produced their 50,000th all-electric vehicle. Tata Motors’ electric passenger car division has seen incredible growth in recent years. It’s no surprise then that the division was worth $9 billion when Tata Motors spun it off. Following test drives in both the Tata Nexon EV and the Tigor EV, I can attest that they serve their intended purposes admirably as urban transportation vehicles. Customers have understandably been piqued by the introduction of an electric version of the Tiago hatchback, which was released not too long ago at a very appealing beginning ex-showroom price of Rs 8.5 lakh.
Tata Motors has demonstrated its leadership in India’s EV market with the release of three new electric vehicles. Tata is the undisputed market leader in India for electric passenger vehicles, with 90% of all such vehicles sold. Tata Motors and Mahindra have both unveiled the vehicles that will serve as the backbone of their electric dreams of the future, and while all of them are modified examples of regular petrol versions. Battery-electric prototypes of the Citron C3 hatchback are now being tested, and the French automaker aims to release the vehicle early next year. For the right pricing, it might be a game-changer in Citron’s efforts to break into the Indian EV market.
A booming EV segment
Kia’s EV6 has been available for purchase for a few weeks now. Meanwhile, Hyundai is set to release the Ioniq 5, an award-winning electric vehicle built on the company’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The Hyundai E-GMP is an all-electric vehicle platform. By 2024–25, Korean automakers want to offer a more reasonably priced electric vehicle, “made in India,” based on the E-GMP platform. Koda-Volkswagen, Maruti-Suzuki, and Toyota are all collaborating to release their battery-electric vehicles around the same time.
The premium market is also flooded with amazing electric vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS (of which I recently tested the AMG form) and the BMW i4, which is essentially a 3-series with a battery pack and drives quite similarly. Because Audi is always developing and releasing new models, we can expect to see the Q8 e-tron and maybe even the Q4 e-tron in the year 2023.
Many roadblocks to electrification
Because of this, the issue is no longer one of consumer preference, and the industry has stepped up to the plate. As I wrote in my September Dashboard column, you should seriously consider getting an electric vehicle as your next primary mode of transportation. After spoken with multiple EV owners over the past few months, it has become clear that there are still numerous bumps in the road to electrification. A future with no emissions is still possible, but getting there will require solving some difficult problems first.
The back end of India’s energy system continues to be a major problem. The electrical grid is one of our most incredible achievements, yet most people take it for granted. State-owned electricity distribution businesses in India have not invested much in the grid in years, and the country’s economy is expected to expand rapidly during the next decade. Indian officials should take note of the lessons to be learned from the heat wave that hit China a few months ago. India will face a major challenge in meeting the growing need for power across all sectors, not only the transportation sector, as the country’s current plan involves increasing coal use to meet this demand.
There are also other logistical issues. The MG ZS EV’s owner told me that he has a lot of trouble charging his car because his Gurugram housing complex does not allow him to put in his own charging station. Many Gurugram housing complexes do not permit tenants to install private vehicle charging stations because the state electrical board provides power in bulk to the complexes.
Among the many possible explanations for this shift is a desire on the part of societies to “sell” electricity to EV owners at exorbitant rates. However, this shifts the focus to the grid and the transmission of renewable energy to cities, which is necessary for EVs to have a net positive environmental impact. To provide renewable energy to urban areas, technologies like high-voltage direct current lines will need to be implemented because wind and solar farms have sprung up in remote locations. It is not cheap to install brand new transmission lines.