- The EV scene in India is moving at a relatively slow speed, despite certain government and private incentives aimed at widening their acceptance among the masses
- Mahindra had teamed up with Gopalan Malls in Bengaluru to set up EV charging stations
- Delhi’s DLF malls also provide charging ports
Electric cars from popular automakers such as BMW and Tesla are being launched all over the world. These vehicles present buyers with an attractive alternative – besides being eco-friendly, they are cost effective and help save money that would otherwise be spent on increasingly expensive petrol/diesel.
Many countries are waking up to the many benefits of such automobiles. For instance, Germany readily accepted electric cars and incentivised the technology by offering tax breaks to those opting to buy electric and hybrid cars.
But curiously, the electric vehicle (EV) scene in India is moving at a relatively slow speed, despite certain government and private incentives aimed at widening their acceptance among the masses.
In 2015, India launched FAME – ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric vehicles’ under the broader theme of promotion of alternate fuels. The scheme “intends to support hybrid/electric vehicles’ market development and its manufacturing eco-system to achieve self-sustenance” over a period of six years, till 2020. The programme would receive further impetus as part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative and would focus on four main areas – technology development, demand creation, pilot projects and charging infrastructure.
Though it remains to be seen if the Centre’s initiative will bear fruit, any discussion on electric cars in India is incomplete without highlighting the ground reality in Bengaluru.
It was reported in 2016 that Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) had planned a smart grid project to provide charging stations around the city. The idea was eventually shelved, bogged down by expectations of heavy costs. It however successfully reflected the changing attitude toward EVs.
Private initiative has also not been far behind in this regard. It was reported that Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd had teamed up with the Gopalan Malls chain in the city in early 2013 to set up EV charging stations at all its locations. The initiative was launched at the Gopalan Mall on Old Madras road with 10 charging points to begin with.
While Bengaluru has attempted to actively innovate in terms of its electric car infrastructure, such technology is gradually coming up in parts of Delhi also.
Real estate giant DLF, for instance, has been offering free EV charging facilities at the parking garage at its Saket mall for close to a year. The mall has 10 universal points that can be used to charge both two and four-wheeler EVs.
As an added incentive, the mall also gives a 50 per cent parking discounts to those on or in EVs.
The mall’s initiative was part of an attempt to promote green vehicles. Since the charging facility is free, the obvious question is whether this kind of model is viable and cost-effective for the mall itself. Mall officials told TOI Auto that the rationale behind the free charge points is that the power consumed to charge the vehicle will be negligible when compared to the electricity that is consumed in the entire mall.
DLF Mall of India in Noida and DLF Promenade in Vasant Kunj also offer similar EV charge points.
Even beyond malls, the provision of charging points is not as rare as one would expect. In fact, the website of Mahindra e2o Plus locates free charging points in atleast 10 Indian cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Noida, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. According to the site, Delhi has 23 such points, the maximum across the listed cities.
An increasing number of governments and individuals are recognising the merits of electric vehicles over traditional fuel ones. With steadily declining fossil fuel reserves and in an increasingly environmentally-conscious world, EVs are an attractive alternative to those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.