The Mahindra e2o Plus is priced at almost Rs 8 lakh and being the sole mass market electric car offering in India, its dismal sales figures indicate that no matter what, if an EV is priced poorly and gives poor value, no one will buy it.
For Rs 8 lakh you can buy a comparable hatchback with a petrol engine that you can take on long trips, is more spacious, well built and feature rich. You get the drift. Being electric as its sole USP will not be enough for a mass market EV.
This is the central question puzzling car-makers and one for which no one really has an answer — because doesn’t seem to be any. Electric cars are still a new technology with high component prices (battery costs) that will inevitably make them more expensive over any standard petrol/diesel car.
Maruti is bringing out its EV which would be priced in India at around Rs 12 lakh — that too after aggressive price challenges being met. So the question is, whether customers would pay for a Wagon R EV at Rs 12 lakh when you can get a Maruti Ciaz for the money? Hyundai is also bringing the Kona to India at Rs 25 lakh — this is a small compact crossover EV and at the price it is pegged at it can expect paltry sales at best.
Thus, the whole point of this article is that unless battery components/ EVs are highly subsidised, they would not be accepted in the market and manufacturers would be able to price them realistically. The 'doing your bit for the environment' notion cannot be the sole criterion on which a mass market EV needs to be bought.
Electric vehicles need to prove to be as credible an alternative to a conventional car and that is the only way they can gain mass market acceptance — something that does not look to be happening any time soon. Even in the UK and global markets, EVs are a small part of the total sales and that is due to the pricing/ charging infrastructure and other factors limiting their appeal. Unless the EV is an attractive buying proposition, it will continue to remain a novelty item.