About a year ago, a Whatsapp group brought together like minded people who thought slightly differently. What they had in common was that they drove the Mahindra Reva e2o, India’s only fully electric car. They started sharing their experiences, and also roped in senior officials from MReva into their group to address issues. All this interaction and bonding lead them to plan, India's first community led electric car rally.
People are often worried about the range and availability of charging points when considering an electric car. Moving from fuel to electric cars is a paradigm shift. Most EV users will vouch that once you experience driving an EV, it is hard to move back to fuel guzzlers. Several people in India today only own EVs, with the e2o being their only car.
We started by planning the first RE:LIVE drive to Sariska. The MReva e2o needs a 15 amp plug with earthing to charge the car. This is the same plug that we use for refrigerators and washing machines in our homes. As simple as that. Several e2o users across India have listed their homes and offices as community charging stations. So have many Mahindra dealers.
Ground work around Pune showed that the common man was also willing to support EVs when they understood the simplicity of the requirements.
Wherever we stopped, we drew in crowds who wanted to know more about the car and e-mobility. Air, water, environment are every Indian’s main concern today. We also learnt that with a little bit of planning, we can ensure that we time our car’s charging optimally our stomach filling times!
Unlike fuel or CNG vehicles, we do not need major infrastructure investments to drive EVs. No pipelines or fuel stations to be installed. The charging infrastructure is already in place across most of India. The main issue facing the growing electric car community now is to convince people to provide a plug point to charge our cars. The government needs to step in to identify rates for charging vehicles at community charging stations. This should also certainly not be a difficult, given that we already have existing policy frameworks for electricity tariffs across the country. Ultimately, for e-cars to be used more widely, we need car manufacturers to give us cars with longer range and fast charge options.
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