Electric cars are gradually gaining popularity in metropolitan markets as more car manufacturers like Tata Motors, Mahindra, and MG Motors introduce mainstream EVs. An increased focus accompanies this growing adoption of electric vehicles on expanding charging infrastructure to ensure widespread availability. As the mass adoption of electric cars continues to rise, prices are expected to decrease gradually.
Additionally, governments, including various state governments, offer subsidies and benefits to incentivise EV purchases. With the electric car market becoming increasingly favourable, it’s essential to consider the critical factors before purchasing. This comprehensive EV buying guide will explore the critical aspects to help you make the right choice.
Personal Driving Range and Pattern
When contemplating the purchase of an electric vehicle, it’s crucial to evaluate your daily driving habits and the primary locations you frequently travel to. City commuters’ average daily commute distance should be 100 kilometres. However, it’s essential to consider other factors as well. If you frequently travel between cities or on highways, you should assess the distance of your road travels.
Owning an electric car and a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle can provide flexibility. You can use the classic car for highway trips and the EV for city commuting.
Charging Facilities at Home
Most electric cars in India today come with home charging solutions. However, it’s essential to consider the state of EV charging infrastructure in India. In many residential complexes, power sockets may not be readily available in parking lots.
This poses a challenge, especially for apartment dwellers who must arrange a power source to set up their EV charging port. Before finalising your purchase, ensure you have a designated parking slot at home with accessible power nearby.
Range of the Electric Car
If the considerations mentioned above align with your requirements, the next factor to consider is the electric car’s range, i.e., the distance it can travel on a single charge. Each electric vehicle has its range, which can vary significantly between the maximum capacity mentioned by the manufacturer and the actual on-road range. The range is influenced by various factors, such as the size of the car’s battery pack, driving style, and weather conditions.
If your average daily commute is shorter than the maximum range offered by an EV, it meets your initial inspection. To gain a better understanding, read user reviews from fellow buyers within your city to determine the driving range they have experienced with the same car.
Maintenance and Running Costs
Maintenance and running costs are significant factors to consider when buying an EV. EVs are generally more accessible and less expensive to maintain than conventional combustion engine cars. EV cars have fewer parts prone to failure, such as the fuel injection system or the transmission found in ICE vehicles. While the initial maintenance cost may be higher during the first few servicing visits, it decreases over time due to the reduced number of core components that could break down unexpectedly in EVs.
Regarding running costs, EVs offer a cheaper alternative to classic fossil fuel cars. Over the years, rising fuel prices have contributed to significantly higher running costs for petrol or diesel cars.
Price of the EV vs Comparable Petrol/Diesel Car
Once you have considered the above key factors, the price becomes a significant factor to weigh. Currently, the mainstream electric car options available in the market are comparatively limited compared to petrol and diesel vehicles. As a result, be prepared to pay a premium in most cases, even with government subsidies.
The price range for mainstream EVs starts at Rs 10.15 lakh for the Mahindra e-Verito and goes up to Rs 23.79 lakh for the Hyundai Kona (ex-showroom prices only). Compare these prices with the options available within your budget for petrol and diesel cars, and assess the practicality and the overall feature set.
Considering that the EV market in India is still in its early stages, it’s essential to acknowledge that you may only be able to replace some of your conventional combustion engine cars with EV cars in India after some time.
Therefore, it is advisable to consider owning at least one alternate vehicle in your garage, which can be used for long journeys or when your EV is out of charge and you cannot afford to wait to recharge.