Almost 90% of Indian car buyers prefer electric cars

Indians are waiting to get on the electric car revolution once the market becomes more conducive with better technology and infrastructure. While not even one per cent of the car owners in India have an electric car, 90 per cent want to buy one for the next purchase. But their main worries are the mile­age currently offered by cars and charging infrastructure available in the country.

A study done by market research firm Velocity MR found that Indian car owners are concerned about the negative impact of fossil fuels on environment and want a change.

Almost 90 per cent of the intended car buyers claimed that they would have bought an electric car instead of their current petrol/diesel cars if they had more options, regarding pricing, mo­d­el and brand. They also claimed they would consider the electric car for their next purchase and also recommend it to their family and friends. Most of the respondents were also willing to pay a premium of about 17 per cent for an electric engine over the cost of their conventional engine type cars.

“Like artificial intellige­nce (AI) and crypto-currency, electric vehicles have also taken the world by storm in recent years. Though the current adaptability of this segment is at a bare minimum, the future of electric cars is bright. With talks of international brands like Te­sla and Toyota planning their launch in the Indian market, this segment in India is expected to reach new heig­h­ts,” said Jasal Shah, managing director and chief executive officer of Velocity MR.

However, the car buyer has a set of concerns. Respondents of the survey believed that electric cars are currently not viable for them mainly due to the perceived low mileage per charge. Close to 70 per cent of the respondents believe that the mileage offered by an electric car would be 70 km or less. Lack of basic infrastructure like charging stations, high cost of purchase, maintenance and lack of subsidies make them develop cold feet.

“During our survey, we observed that most of the current consumer base could not differentiate between hybrid and electric vehicles. They also came with a perceived belief of lower mileage per charge which is a misconception,” said Shah.

They want the governme­nt to intervene and take init­i­atives that would make electric car feasible in the Indian market. The government sh­o­­uld promote electric vehic­le usage, especially cars by pr­oviding subsidies and red­u­cing related taxes, like road tax. The government should provide infrastruct­ure like charging stations and identify indigenous wa­ys to reduce cost of electric car components and configuration.

Car buyers associate Mahindra and Tesla as top brands associated with electric cars. But their preferred brand would be Honda, if it launched one in India, and Maruti. They expect Indian brands like Tata and Maruti to launch electric cars in the near future.

Sangeetha G.