With a variety of manufacturers producing electric cycles, scooters and even cars, the time has come for consumers to start rethinking their options. Sherebanu Frosh shares her experience of an electric vehicle.

Since when have you owned your electric vehicle?We bought a Tata Nexon EV in January 2021

Why did you decide to buy it?
We needed a new car, and decided that it should be an EV. It’s the least a car owner in a polluted city can do to protect their children and others in the neighbourhood. EVs basically outsource the pollution from the tailpipe (in the faces of our children whose noses are level with the tailpipes, also in the immediate vicinity of pedestrians and cyclists) to the stacks of power plants. Most of our electricity comes from thermal power plants, burning coal, and most power plants don’t meet current emissions standards. Also, there’s a great deal more resource extraction for the batteries of EVs, so you’re not really reducing pollution, just shifting it. Still, in terribly polluted cities, it is a worthwhile policy as the share of renewable energy increases and reducing exposure is the need of the hour.

Do you really think it can make an impact on the AQI levels if only a handful of people use it?
We have countries like Norway where half the vehicles are now EVs. I’m sure there is a reduction in exposure to air pollution in cities if a quarter plus vehicles make the shift like Delhi intends to do by 2024, but I haven’t seen those studies yet.

What do you think is wrong with the mainstream automobile industry?
It isn’t the industry – they are simply responding to customer demand. The problem I would say is in our government, which is failing to regulate all the sources of pollution and in our city design (again government) which fails to negate the need for automobiles by not having enough buses, safe segregated cycle lanes and pedestrian paths.

Cities like Singapore were designed to make it difficult for cars, in terms of ownership and driveability. When it is faster, easier and better to take public transport or cycle, everyone will switch to these truly sustainable methods.

Till then (and there is considerable progress being made to make certain cities more liveable), with the cities we have, EVs are the best option for car owners.

What do you think impedes people from using EVs?
One of the main reasons people are hesitant is they don’t know how they will install chargers (if they are in apartments), and the second is that they’re worried about travelling outside the range, when they go on long car trips.

The first is fairly easy to address. Most car companies will come and install the chargers at your basement parking spot, and you can work with your RWA to set up a meter there. As the number of EVs grow, we can also look at setting up solar charging stations at apartment complexes, where a cluster of solar panels are put together to help charge the EVs, so you’re not drawing too much power from grids.

The second is a valid point. If you’re living in NCR for example, you can go comfortably to Jaipur, Dehradun, Chandigarh and other cities because there are fast chargers on the highway and in the cities. But going further into the mountains gets tricky, though recently fast chargers were set up in a lot of remote places like Spiti, Manali etc. People have done cross country trips, and charged the car overnight at hotels, but you have to know to carry an extended wire, and there can be issues around grounding.

Once we have a nationwide network of fast chargers, we’ll be a lot more comfortable taking our car for drives. Basically, if most petrol pumps or highway rest stops (with restaurants, bathrooms etc) have fast chargers, most drivers would be happy to stop for an hour to recharge their car battery.

Here’s some more information on charging stations and types of chargers .

The list of Public Charging stations in Delhi as on 19.10.2020 is available on https://ev.delhi.gov.in/ui/images/List_of_Charging_Stations.pdf . There are as many as 71 stations listed. Although by 2022, Delhi will have electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in at least 150 new locations across the national capital as said by the senior transport officials. (https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/by-2022-delhi-will-have-150-more-ev-charging-points-says-transport-dept-101631643936800.html) One can locate the charging station by downloading the ElectreeFi App and also book charging slots as per the convenience.

Before we get to the types of charging facilities for EV it is important to understand about Direct Charging (DC) and Alternative Charging (AC). Vehicle Batteries are always charged by DC. In case of AC charging, the current is supplied to vehicle’s onboard charger that converts AC to DC.

The following are the efficient types of charging facility for Electric Vehicles available:

Rapid Chargers:

  • An average modern EV takes about 45-60 mins to fully charge.
  • There are found in public places.
  • These devices convert the AC to DC for direct storage in EVs.

Fast Chargers:

  • Most of the manufacturers will install an AC wall-box charger at the customers home.
  • The EV can be plugged directly from the AC socket installed.
  • An average modern EV takes about 6-8 hours to fully charge with this method depending upon the battery capacity.

Installation of Charging Points:

  • We also spoke to one Tata Dealership which mentioned that they install the home charging stations for free when an EV car is purchased. They also explained that it is a simple AC plug that needs to be installed and the battery will take 6-8 hours to charge fully. Whereas to install a DC power unit which will charge the EV in 45-60 mins, the cost will be as huge as 8 Lakhs.
  • We also spoke to Statiq, which is a company running DC charging points across Delhi and also undertake installation work for setting up EV charges at various stations. For a regular AC point at home, the company charges about Rs. 10,000/- for installation. For installation of DC charging point at a public location the cost is about Rs. 5 Lakh. The DC charger can be installed at localities, offices or apartments by the people living/working there. To charge EVs, one will have to install the application of Statiq and the money thereby received from the aforementioned installed charging point will be transferred to the people who paid for the installation of the same in the locality.

Here’s a link to check out the different EVs available in India. https://beebom.com/electric-cars-available-india/

If you’re thinking of buying an EV and want to connect with others who already have one, do drop a comment here!

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *