Electric cars, or more importantly, electric vehicles in general, have had a hard time gaining any amount of traction so far among buyers.
The “Hottest” In India Right Now
In the two-wheeler segment, we have the Okinawa Ridge that comes close to replacing the Honda Activa as a short-distance-sprinter with its top speed of 55km/h. Not only does it cost less to run, with a price tag of under Rs. 44,000, it’s way cheaper than the Activa. The Hero Flash takes care of the other end of the spectrum at Rs. 25,000. Its attractive price tag has the potential to pull buyers who are still on the fence about electric scooters.
Among their four-wheeled counterparts, we’ve had the Maini Reva, which made way for the Mahindra e2o, followed by e2o Plus. The e2o Plus currently shares the showroom floor with the conventional-looking eVerito. But, neither of these have seen enough demand thanks to their utilitarian vibe.
Spec Sheet Isn’t Everything
All EV manufacturers in India are going for the mass market alternatives with specifications that meet 99% of the needs for 99% of the buyers. Yet, electric cars and scooters are a rare commodity on our roads. While they’re all in a hurry to get their return on investment, they’re forgetting one critical criterion that drives us to buy what we buy. And that’s emotion.
We buy cars and bikes that pull the strings of our hearts. Just look at the Hyundai Creta. It’s overpriced for what it offers, and yet, we flock to the showrooms with the chequebooks to reserve a piece. Same goes for the Renault Kwid. It caters to our wants more than it does to our needs. So far, no EV on sale has been able to do that.
How Can Electric Cars Succeed In India?
The simple answer is: by making them desirable. The world’s biggest electric cars’ manufacturer didn’t become America’s most-cherished carmaker by selling golf carts. As of May 22, 2017, Tesla is the most-valued car manufacturer in the US, and they got there by taking down the long-time veteran, General Motors. While Tesla does have some mass market products lined up such as the Model 3 sedan and a pickup truck, the company started its journey by selling a two-seater convertible sports car called the Roadster. Next to enter the frame was the Model S, which rivalled the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7 Series and the Porsche Panamera. Clearly, the Model S wasn’t for the average Joe.
Nifty tricks such as automatically popping door handles, adjustable ride height, insane acceleration and excellent body control made it an instant favourite. The addition of semi-autonomous tech that allows the car to drive by itself on open roads further upped its desirability factor. The fact that it covers more miles per dollar is just a secondary benefit for Tesla owners.
What Are Our Options?
As of right now? None. But, we do have two two-wheelers that should’ve hit the roads by now.
The scooter shines because of its ability to smartly integrate your digital world with its touchscreen dashboard. Android serves as its backbone and synchronises the rider behaviour with the cloud for personalised range and route estimates for different riders. Up to one-meter high water logging can’t do anything to the scooter other than cool the batteries and the motor.
Top Speed: 72km/h
Recharge: 50 min for 0-80%
Cost: Rs. 80,000 (est.)
Launch Date: Unknown
Being the first electric motorcycle in India makes it a unique option stripping it off the functional angle that plagues all electric vehicles. The performance of the T6X is said to be comparable with a 200cc motorcycle like the RTR 200 or the 200 Duke. Tork is counting on its 27Nm of torque to drive up the bike’s X factor, and eventually, its sales.
Top Speed: 100km/h
Recharge: 60 min for 0-80%
Cost: Rs. 1.25 lakh
Launch Date: Unknown
Perhaps, it’ll take a Tesla to warm us up to the idea of driving electric cars. Given the proposed GST rates for EVs, we may see Teslas on our roads sooner than we think.
Also Read: Okinawa Ridge Launched At Rs 43,702