Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Promoting electric vehicles-What needs to be done

It was good to note the incentives given in union budget for electric vehicles. This post lists a set of infrastructure arrangements that are needed to promote electric vehicles in large numbers.

1. Standardizing charging units: All makers of electric vehicles should sit together and standardize the chargers for electric vehicles. At present, each mobile and laptop charger has its own design and charger of one phone can’t be used to charge another. Consumers will have to carry one charger for each of their device- mp3 player, mobile, camera, laptop etc which is highly inconvenient. Manufacturers have their commercial motive behind this. Similarly when it comes to electric vehicles, I propose the charging mechanism is standardized first (both in terms of design and technical aspects like volts, amps etc). Once standardized, it becomes much easier to setup charging hubs everywhere.

2. Charging points/hubs in apartment complexes, office buildings and malls- At present owners of electric vehicles find it very inconvenient to charge their vehicles. If you’re living in a high rise apartment, residents of ground floor or first floor will not be willing to let you use their charging points all the time. Similarly, electric vehicles will have short range of 100 or so kms, so having charging points in public places like offices, malls, railway station parking lots etc will be immensely useful, as car owners can charge their cars while at work/watching a movie etc. The way provisions are made for water points (so that fire engines can fill water) charging points should me made accessible to recharge cars.

Reva-electric-carFor charging hubs to me made available all the places, it’s important to achieve standardization. A builder may not be willing to install 20 different types of chargers

3. Battery exchange points: The way we exchange an empty LPG Cylinder for a filled one, we should be able to exchange a dry batter of an electric vehicle with a fully charged battery. This way one can easily go on long drives without having to worry about recharging midway. Again being able to standardize battery specifications will be critical. The range limitations of a battery can be overcome this way, by carrying more batteries or exchanging on the way.

4. Self charging through solar panels-affixing solar panels on roof of the car that can charge batteries while parked, can be a great value addition

5. Ability for two electric cars to charge each other- how cool it will be if you are low on charge and can borrow some from your colleague’s car…

6. Encourage car rental companies to try electric vehicles by giving special incentives. If cab rental companies find it economically profitable and operationally viable, they’ll buy them in large numbers, boosting demand as well as awareness.

7. Some temporary incentives like parking fee/toll fee waiver, discount in road tax/registration fee etc can motivate more people to try eclectic vehicles

Traditionally electric vehicles had poor speed, low range and in essence, lesser practicality. Modern electric vehicles being manufactured can carry 4-5 people comfortably, battery charge lasts for 100+kms at a stretch and overall, are at par with petrol/diesel fuelled cars for most of the practical purposes. Cost and operational feasibility remain two major concerns once they hit the roads-Appropriate preparations as stated above can promote sale of electric vehicles considerably.

Anything else that you can think of?

Some side effects of electric cars: Batteries will need periodic replacement in electric vehicles. No proper mechanism exists to dispose-off old batteries. Careless disposal of batteries in large numbers over a period of time will result in another menace like the plastic menace we have today. Proper policies for disposing and recycling the batteries is critical.

Related: Mahindra Reva e2o review- part 1 and part 2


Himanshu said...

subsidy by the govt. is the first step to be taken. companies like tata which has created Nano should promote it.

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Mridula said...

Srinidhi convenient servicing is another point otherwise it will discourage buyers like me :(

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mridula: Point. After sales service is of course important

Lakshmi Rajan said...

Valid meaningful points you have shared. Hope the govt and companies involved implement it.

Also the govt should provide incentives or reduce the tax slabs for the electric cars so that they are more affordable and become a selling point.

Deguide said...

Solar recharge is ideal, which will be highly suitable for Indian climatic condition. Electric vehicle can never be long drive ones. Anyways jumpstarting is possible but transferring charge may not be possible unless one switches the battery. GOOD POST

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks LR and Umesh Sir for your thoughts

SKG said...

v good . i have developed e rickshaw in 48v passenger/loader both( like tricycle/rickshaw Manually pulled in our country ) .speed less than 25 km
now how to come under special privilege/exemption act/rule rickshaw loader pulled manually don't come under CMVR act like already no rule apply in our country. i checked ARAI
web site in that it comes under similar to fuel engine orated heavy 3 wheeler please help me how to convince CMVR/ARAI/GOVT DEPT other /agency i have to start marketing already tested for 120 days ready for consumers kindly look into my problem as a small Enterprise i can not afford to go for ARAI approval.
need your help for necessary provisions providing relief from CMVR act for the upliftment of manually pullers
sections of the society as a whole
satish gupta