People driving large OIL guzzling SUV’s and most of the time driving alone.
What is the need for a Diesel SUV when 95% of the time, you drive alone or with another person on board?
This is 2019, and why don’t we see more Electric vehicles in our cities that can help clean the air in our cities?
But one the big reason that is not often talked about is how corporations, especially manufacturers of Internal Combustion Engine vehicles are hindering growth of our nascent Indian EV Industry. In this episode of PluginIndia Musings, let’s talk about the real elephant in the room - Indian corporates and their unwillingness to change.
These propaganda news pieces creates PR for their brand, which these ICE centric auto magazines and websites gobble up and in turn generates views for these companies and thus money.
Back in 2017, these ICE manufacturers, many of them big brands selling lakhs of ICE vehicles each month, contacted PluginIndia to get information and even had plans for launching EV’s by 2018 or early 2019. They were talks about installing charging points in their lakhs of dealers all over India.
It is now, early 2019 and all we see are no commitments on launching EV’s from these ICE manufacturers. Ultimately all of them are holding back and delaying offering options for the Indian market?
What is the reason? Why this lack of urgency?
The reason is this. Many of these corporations sell millions of ICE vehicles each month, they are unchallenged market leaders, who dump the same antiquated, pollution causing, oil guzzling products in different colors and shapes to our hapless population. This results in these companies making huge money and any kind of disruption is not an option for them.
And electric vehicles are serious disruptions to these businesses.
Also we recommend reading Kedar Soman’s blog - India has it's own chicken and egg problem. But it has nothing to do with charging infrastructure.
Also many of these manufacturers offer all kinds of excuses -
They say ‘There is no major charging infrastructure we will only launch EV’s once there is ‘infrastructure’.
But all of you should understand this, almost all electric vehicles, especially the ones for personal use, are charged at night, at home. So pretty much every morning, you have a fully charged vehicle available. And two wheelers, do not suffer from the problem of lack of charging infrastructure, with many of them allow you to remove the battery and take it home for charging.
As we said earlier, all of these are just excuses for these ICE based corporations who just want to delay the EV movement.
Another excuse offered by these manufactures is that - “The government is not doing anything for EV’s, so lets see when the government is serious..”
These kind of statements are completely false, What has the government not done for the EV momentum these past 5 years. Our government has moved at an 'electric' pace setting targets, giving subsidies, creating charging standards, policies, creating proof of concept projects, getting the media to report on EV's on a daily basis.
What more do they want them to do?
There is scope for the government to improve, but to say the government has done nothing shows, absolute disregard to why we are here.
Back in 2013 when PluginIndia started, no one was talking about EV's. Forget about even investment into the EV industry. We are here majorly because of the focus by the government and by the incredible risk and passion of some of these EV startups and companies investing in EV’s.
Some CEO’s of these ICE manufacturers say - ‘there is no demand for these vehicles and we will launch them once WE SEE the demand’’
Well, if you don’t launch even a single model, how do you know there is no demand?
Again all of these excuses are basically delay tactics., In fact many of these ICE manufacturers had working models ready back in 2017. It is not rocket science for giants with huge resources like say TVS, Bajaj, Hero Motorcorp, Maruti or Tata to create Electric Vehicles for the Indian market. But they won’t do it and by now you know why!
Another thing these corporates do is to buy stakes in an EV startup or an EV focussed company. Once a majority stake is acquired, they then suppress their EV products and promote their own ICE products, with the overall goal if stifling EV’s.
We have already seen this when Mahindra Electric acquired the Reva Electric Car company.
Hero MotorCorp has a stake at Ather Energy and it looks like Ather in 2019 will only sell their electric scooters only in 1 city. And now you go figure.
Then we have Greaves Cotton who now has a majority stake at Ampere Vehicles.
Now Greaves is a company that manufacturers the following - diesel, petrol, kerosene engines, diesel pump sets & gensets. Now something is fishy here too.
This kind of evil tendencies to suppress any sort of competition or disruption is common in the corporate world and we are seeing this affecting the EV industry. We are not saying all investment is bad. But we feel, many of these EV companies need to really think before accepting investments.
Just imagine where Reva Electric Car Company would be by now, if they would have accepted investment from other sources instead of Mahindra.
Talking about Mahindra Electric, we feel that they only have EV’s in their portfolio due to the vision of Mr Anand Mahindra.
Instead of building upon the amazing work by the likes of Mr Chetan Maini and Mr Pratap Jayam and team at Reva Electric Car, the senior management at Mahindra Electric have completely eliminated Mr Maini’s vision, the technologies and the people that built the Reva Electric Car company.
Prices of Mahindra Electric cars seem artificially inflated, their electric cars don’t offer a true EV experience with software updates and other EV specific tech features, there is no major marketing efforts to sell their electric cars.
All this is meant to ensure EV sales are kept low and their focus is on selling their oil guzzling XUV’s, TUVs and KUV’s.
Mahindra Electric’s lack of Electric car vision is again a result of a typical ICE manufacturer. Where the focus is on selling their ICE vehicles.
Tata Motors are delaying launching their Tata Tigor Electric Car and Tiago Electric Car until 2020. Even though these cars were ready many years back. When we ask them, no one at Tata Motors even tell us what is going on regarding release
MNC’s like Hyundai and Nissan might launch Electric Cars in 2019, but again they are tight lipped and won’t tell us when. They might again push it to 2020 and beyond.
The less said about the likes of Maruti, TVS, Bajaj, Hero Motors the better.
In the two wheeler space, we have young startups like Ather Energy or Tork Motorcycles launching electric scooters and electric motorcycles but due to their lack of experience in the auto industry, they are happy to sell in small number than make major changes.
Other electric scooter companies like Okinawa, NDS Electric scooter, Ampere, Hero are trying their best to capture the nascent EV market.
But the reality is unless all major brands launch multiple electric vehicle models, we will continue to see Indian public blindly buy OIL guzzling SUV’s, Automatic petrol hatchbacks, petrol scooters and motorcycles. All of these vehicles do more harm than good for our country.
Will this scenario change, say in 3 years time, by 2023?
Sadly we feel this is only going to get worse. In the coming years, we foresee that these big ICE manufacturers may launch a token EV model with artificially inflated prices, without any major marketing efforts so that the status quo remains.
We at PluginIndia are extremely frustrated at the state of affairs.
But this is capitalism, and in this system, the power is with corporations, where profit and money is more important than air quality, noise pollution and consumption of non renewable fuels.
For starters, you should all stop giving your money to these large ICE centric corporations and stop buying Internal Combustion Engine based Vehicles.
Ask tough questions to these corporations
- Why don’t they have EV’s in their portfolio?
- Why not invest in manufacturing EV’s in India?
If you have contacts, talk to your local politician who cares.
Ask them to enable policy changes that mandate these ICE makers to offer multiple EV options to the public.
Avoid buying a TVS Jupiter or a Honda Activa or a Suzuki Access or a Maruti Celerio or a Tata Zest.
Instead, consider a Hero Photon, NDS Lio, Okinawa Praise or Mahindra e2o Plus or Mahindra e-Verito?
Enjoy your independence from visiting the petrol pump by using an EV.
Support companies and startups, who are offering EV’s today.
They are taking such large risks in bringing change and are causing true disruption.
Visit them and encourage them to do better.
Do you want less noise in our cities?
Do you want fresh air on our roads?
Do you want India to prosper by reducing our OIL imports?
You can be the change. Today.