Electric Car FUD
The first thing I want to talk about is the constant FUD -- fear, uncertainty, and doubt -- regarding electric vehicles propagated by ICE car CEOs, the media, ICE-car-centric magazines and websites, and petrol heads. These EV cynics and naysayers don’t believe in the EV revolution or have an incentive to keep using pollution vehicles. They think EVs are just a new fad and will go away soon, and they want no part of it.
For our EV advocacy, which will benefit Indian cities and the Indian economy in the long run, we have received abuse and personal attacks. We don’t know who these people are, but they are definitely scared and afraid to change.
If you encounter such people or articles, all you need to do is point them to the numbers and trends in the auto market.
Unfortunately, car companies in India like Maruti, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Renault, Kia, and Volkswagen have not launched even a single electric car. These companies keep propagating false narratives about EVs. Every week, you listen to dinosaurs in suits saying, ‘There is no demand for EVs’.
Let me ask you something. If there is a 4 door EV hatchback launched at 7-8 lakhs that goes 200 km per charge, won’t most of you will opt for it rather than an ICE hatchback that costs 5-6 lakhs? These car companies can launch such a car today, but their claim that there is ‘no demand for EV’ is just self-serving propaganda.
The mainstream media is also playing the same game. Many petrolheads or EV cynics run the EV section of popular news websites. Check out Autocar or any other mainstream auto website to see if they have a dedicated EV reviewer. If you call them out on it, they will say, ‘Well, an EV should be driven like a regular vehicle’. Should it? Even though the technologies at work are so different? Would you use a smartphone the same way you use a dumb phone? Would you use a computer the same way you use a typewriter? These websites publish a lot of sensational anti-EV articles with attention-grabbing, clickbait-friendly headlines. All of this definitely feels orchestrated. The big car companies and oil companies are scared and are using every available tactic to slow down the growth of EVs.
There was an article in Evannex , in which a respected auto journalist, Jim Motavalli, pointed out the huge contrast in anti- and pro-EV comments. There is an overwhelmingly anti-EV tone to comments on ICE vehicle websites like Autoweek. You find more pro-EV comments on EV-specific sites, where readers rhapsodize about the joys of driving on electricity and criticize the half-hearted efforts of legacy automakers. This is a global phenomenon. In India, go to any pollution vehicle media website or youtube channels. Go to AutocarIndia or Team-BHP. You will find the haters, Luddites, and naysayers in full force spewing anti-EV nonsense.
Here is a scenario for you guys. Imagine you have a petrol car. This car takes large sums of money to run as well as expensive oil changes and engine maintenance. This car will reduce your lifespan by a few years as you breathe the toxic fumes it emits. The petrol car will also wear out sooner than an electric car. You need to go to a pump to fill in petrol at insane rates, which the Indian government cannot control.
Compare that to an EV that you can charge at home when you sleep. You save so much money by not using oil, your car lasts longer, you have fewer service station visits, you improve your health by not breathing in cancer-causing fumes, and you use affordable, made-in-India electricity.
The choice is easy. An electric car is way more sustainable for all of us.
But these people in the pollution vehicle media absolutely don't want to see the societal benefits EVs offer. There is not even a single article in the mainstream media talking about the societal benefits of EVs.
There are a large number of established Chinese electric car makers: BYD, SIAC, XPENG, NIO, WULING, CHERY, and more. These are international brands now. They are selling electric cars in Europe, the US, and China in large numbers. Chinese auto will play a significant role in the auto industry in the future. Whether you like China or not, that is the reality. I expect BYD to be one of the world's largest EV makers in the world. Among the German giants, Volkswagen and Audi are phasing out combustion vehicles. They have a progressive EV vision, and I expect huge things from the VW group. And don’t forget that it took a major controversy like Dieselgate for Volkswagen to course correct. The Japanese giants, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, are in denial, whereas the Americans giants, Ford and GM, are floundering. In India, car makers have no clue. Mahindra got an early start and then dropped the ball hard. Only Tata Motors seems to have any sort of EV vision.
Most of these legacy automakers selling ICE cars are clueless and have no idea of the tsunami about to hit them. If they don’t offer EV's or develop a plan for EV's, other companies will usurp their market positions. A BYD or an OLA Electric or someone else will come in and disrupt the market, like Reliance Jio did back in 2016. That is how disruption works.
I believe that even in 2021, when you pay Rs 12 lakhs for a Tigor EV or 14 lakhs for a Nexon EV, these cars offer more value than an ICE car costing more than 8 lakhs. My own Mahindra e2o is nearly six years old. I have still not bought a new car, petrol or EV, despite the many options available because no other car offers the same convenience and cost-effectiveness. They just don’t. I can zip along in traffic, squeezing in and out of tight spots, and when I reach home at the end of the day, I’m never tired because of the smooth, clutch-free, vibration-free driving. Not even the best, most premium ICE vehicle can offer remotely the same experience.
Five years ago, we had the e2o, e2o Plus, and Verito all with ranges of 100 to 150 km. Today, we have the Nexon and MG ZS EV with 250 to 400 km range. In 2026, you will be able to buy an electric car with 500 km range at decent prices. By 2030, EV’s will become even more affordable as battery production scales up. Who in their right mind would want to spend Rs 10 lakhs on an ICE car then?
Ultimately, electric cars will win. Not because they are inexpensive to run, not because they are better for the environment, but because they are superior machines compared to the ones that run on dinosaur juice. EV's are more efficient. More convenient. More fun to drive. More practical. EV's are better. Full stop.
The days of pollution cars are numbered.
Alright, guys. I will see you next week when we talk about Volkswagen in our brand new series, Electric Car Focus.
Have a great week.