Electric vehicles: advantages, disadvantages and constraints in India

Electric vehicles were given a special mention in this year's union budget. But what are these vehicles and what are their advantages as well as disadvantages? At the same time, is India ready to replace conventional vehicles with EVs? This article explains what are EVs and their pros and cons in introducing them to India.

If you follow the news closely, you would have read about how the Govt. is pushing for electric vehicles by offering incentives for both the buyers as well as sellers. The number of cars on Indian roads is increasing every year and the air pollution is rising with it. To combat it, the utility of electric vehicles can't be undermined. But what actually is an electric vehicle and how is it different from conventional vehicles running on diesel and petrol.

Understanding an EV

In layman's language, an EV (electric vehicle) runs on electricity instead of gasoline. This is not entirely true though as there are hybrid cars in the market which run on both conventional fuel and electricity. But a proper EV will derive its power from one or more electric batteries. Of course, the batteries are rechargeable like those of our mobile phones.

The concept of EV is not entirely new. We have had electricity used for powering the vehicles in the past going as far as the 1800s. In the past many decades, electric power has been used for vehicles. But the impetus for its use in the passenger vehicles has been given in the last decade only since the technological advancements have allowed the EVs to be affordable to the common populace.

Advantages of electric vehicles

The very first advantage, as mentioned above, is no pollution. The conventional cars emit gases and smoke in the air which is detrimental to the environment. The eco-friendly EVs won't be doing that. As the number of vehicles will increase on roads, the air quality will get worse. EVs are one of our best bets against it.

The fuel cost has increased across households as the number of people with vehicles is increasing. As there is further up and down in the cost of petrol and diesel owing to fluctuations in the international market price, the electric vehicles come across as a suitable way to save money

Another pollution that is brought under control by the use of EV is noise pollution. As the EVs run on batteries, there is little or no noise produced when they are running. This goes a long way in curbing noise pollution which has become another bane for the motorists and passengers on busy roads of India.

Though it is a bit early to say, over time the maintenance costs of electric vehicles will be less than of the conventional vehicles. Another help will be in the form of Govt. incentives.


There are always two sides of the coin. Along with a plethora of advantages, EVs have few disadvantages too associated with it. The biggest problem is finding a recharge point. An unplanned trip is impossible without taking into consideration the power available in the battery and accessibility of the recharge stations in the area you are planning to go to.

Unlike conventional cars where you fill up your vehicles in a couple of minutes with the fuel and move, the EVs require certain time to recharge the batteries. Your vehicle will be as useless as your phone at the time of need if you forget to recharge it. The technology has not gone up to that level yet that the EVs will give you the same range i.e. mileage as conventional cars.

Finally, noiseless cars have their own disadvantages. If the driver is not careful enough, it might lead to an accident in a few cases as no one will be able to listen to an approaching EV.

Constraints in India

Many countries, especially developed ones with infrastructure in place, are adopting EVs at a rapid pace. For instance, in Norway last year, EVs and hybrid vehicles accounted for over 50 percent of the new vehicle sales. In fact, China is also blazing ahead in the adoption of electric vehicles. That's why the Govt. this year decided to incentivize the production and sales of EVs. However, there are several challenges ahead.

The cost of EVs is still pretty high when compared to that of conventional fuel vehicles. The major reason behind it is the use of Li-ion batteries. It will still take some time before the cost of EV will attract the buyers.

We do not have an infrastructure in place for the charging stations. Moreover, the charging activity itself consumes a lot of time. So it poses a big question mark over the quick adoption by the buyers keeping in mind the convenience of fuel stations which can be found easily.

Finally, it is still a long way to go before these vehicles can be expected to go on long continuous trips consisting of a run of over 300 km or more a day as the mileage is still low at around 150-200 km with fully charged batteries.

So, in a nutshell, even with a lot of advantages in place, it will still take at least 5 to 7 years for the EVs to find a sizeable share in the Indian automobile market


Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao13 Sep 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

A good article about electric vehicles. Once EVs come on to the road we can save a lot of foreign exchange if the vehicles utilizing petroleum products come down. Another advantage with the EVs is that maintaining these cars is very easy. The government should have battery lending depots on the roads like petrol stations. Vehicle owners can give away their discharged battery and take a charged battery by paying the money as decided by the government. In such a case, these vehicles can be used for long-distance travels also.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha13 Sep 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 6

In the wake of fluctuation of oil price in the market, it is rather an encouraging step to go in for the EV vehicles. The introduction would definitely reduce the staggering demand of such fuels being imported to meet our need. Whereas this may be the biggest advantage in saving the foreign exchange, it would ultimately help us in arresting the air pollution causing a lot of health hazards due to emission of methane, carbon monoxide, unburnt Carbon etc, which affects our lungs adversely. The densely populated cities such as Delhi, Bengalore, Kolkata etc have been polluted so dangerously that children and senior citizens have to rush to hospitals very often.

But we need to have improved charging system to recharge the installed battery with a lesser time or otherwise replacement of used battery while on the road should not take more than a couple of minutes. Moreover, distance coverage of these E vechiles require to be stepped up from the present range of 150-200 km to around 400 km with the introduction of improved battery condition.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta13 Sep 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

A good article presented by the author. EV definitely has a better future. It's said that in India, only electric cars will be sold after 2030 and that's the main reason why the sale of the cars presently is down. No doubt it will reduce pollution but the biggest challenge is the cost. At present Mahindra is selling its basic model e20 at 7 lacs which is too costly. However, the price is expected to go down in the next decade. The cost of EV depends on it's the battery as 40% of the cost is of the battery itself.

Manufacturing capacity in India is extremely poor. Mahindra is the only all-electric car manufacturer, while Tata makes some electric commercial vehicles. If India is really serious about the electric vehicle then the government should give subsidies to the component manufacturers of the electric vehicle and should try to adjust prices of these so that ordinary people may think of buying them.

Next is, the government should think of the recharge stations and they should be spread all over like the present petrol pumps in the country.

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