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The Driving Force Behind Affordable Electric Cars
Nimit Arora
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Published on 21st Dec 21
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The Driving Force Behind Affordable Electric Cars

India is a cost-conscious market where people tend to opt for cheaper options. A transition from petrol & diesel-powered cars to EVs has commenced, even if on a low scale. Of course, the transition to electric cars can be achieved only if we have budget-friendly options in the country. Currently, most of these electric cars are a bit on the expensive side, but things are slowly improving. In fact, a number of automobile manufacturers do have slightly more affordable EVs in India.

The Tata Motors Story:

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Tata Motors recently become the only carmaker in India to offer two separate electric vehicles under Rs 15 lakh: Tigor EV & Nexon EV.

Tigor EV is a compact sedan with a starting price of Rs 11.99 Lakh. Nexon EV is the most affordable electric SUV in India, being almost Rs 6 to 7 lakh cheaper than its closest rival, the MG ZS EV. However, MG India has plans to launch a mass-market EV in the price range of Rs.10 to 15 lakh by the end of the next financial year. This new car will be specifically tailored for India.

Unveiled at the Auto Expo, the hatchback ‘Tata Tiago EV’ is ready to launch in India anytime in the coming months. It can be the company’s first sub-10 lakh rupee e-car.

Tata Altroz EV is expected to arrive in the first half of 2022. It will be positioned between the Nexon EV & the Tigor EV.

Tata Punch EV is also expected to hit the markets in mid-2022. It will compete with the Mahindra eKUV100.

GWM & Haima:

Apart from MG, another Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors (GWM) is going to introduce its vehicles in India for the first time. At the Auto Expo, GWM introduced an electric hatchback ‘Ora R1’. The company claims it is the cheapest e-car in the world. It is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2022 at a price range of Rs.7 to 9 lakhs. According to a market analysis by automotive news portal Gaadiwaadi, the average conventional car in India costs Rs.7.7 lakh, which means the base model of the Ora R1 comes in under that average price.

Another Chinese carmaker Haima motors showcased its small car the Haima EV1 at the Auto Expo 2020. The carmaker’s partner in India, Bird Electric has said the car will be adjusted with India-specific modifications and launched in the first half of 2022. The price expected is between Rs.9 to 12 lakhs.

The Maruti EV Story:

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The India subsidiaries of Suzuki Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation are co-developing an electric car platform. Maruti Suzuki will lead the project for this planned, affordable EV expected to be ready for a launch by late 2024 or early 2025.

Maruti Suzuki is the leader in the Indian passenger vehicle industry but is not ready to take a plunge in the EV industry yet. Their concerns around EVs stem from the price sensitivity of Indian customers, a reason why Ford Motors failed in India.

If we look at the Indian market, almost 75% of the buyers go for cars which are below Rs.10 lakh. This is a major cue for auto manufacturers on how to price their cars for success in India. If any auto company can make EVs affordable, it has the potential to rule the market.

Other Players:

The Mahindra eKUV100 made its debut at Auto Expo 2020. The car is expected to have a starting price below Rs.10 lakh, making it the most affordable electric car in India upon launch.

Going with the affordable e-car trend, Renault is likely to launch its Kwid EV next year. The car is already in production in the Chinese market. Once it arrives, it is expected to be the most affordable electric car in our market with prices starting at around Rs 7 lakh.

French carmaker Citroen is expected to launch a mini electric SUV by the end of 2022. It has been tentatively codenamed ‘eCC21’. It will come with a 50 kWh battery pack in international markets and a 30 kWh battery pack in India. This has been done to keep the prices competitive here and to take on Mahindra eKUV100, Tata Punch EV.

Hyundai is considering making an affordable e-SUV in India, one that’s expected to be priced between Rs 10-15 lakh but isn’t likely to surface until 2024.

Conclusion:

India is still in the middle of creating an EV ecosystem. The process has slowed due to the pandemic, but will definitely provide returns in the long run and encourage major players like Maruti Suzuki to invest in EVs. At present, India is still trying to create a robust charging infrastructure and set up plants for EV battery manufacturing.

So it’s over to the car manufacturers. We’ve seen their flashy, fully-loaded SUVs and supercars, but now it’s time to bolster their ‘affordable’ offerings. Simple, honest and value-for-money electric cars are essential to mass adoption.

Price parity with conventional ICE cars will be the true turning point for the Indian EV market.

With the average age of Indians being less than 30, the younger generation is driven for innovation, sustainability & environmental conservation. At the same time, by manufacturing vehicles, components and batteries together indigenously, various established automakers and startups are ensuring affordable electric cars in India.

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