IS THERE AN EVOLUTION In Consumer Behaviour Towards E-Mobility?


Mr. Dhivik A, CEO, Go Green BOV

I personally think if we are to compare to 2015, the consumer is a lot aware. There surely is a great change from his perception in the earlier days to what it is today. This shift has been important mainly because of prices of Lithium Batteries dropping. 

When we started in 2010 Lithium cells were priced at around 1300USD /kwh which made the end vehicles either expensive or unsafe as the technology readiness curve was still low for lithium batteries. This prompted us to use Lead Acid Batteries. The biggest advantage of Lead Acid batteries was that it was priced at around 120 USD /kwh. This lead to the pricing of the product within the reach of a normal customer but a low cycle life of batteries and extremely inefficient energy density prompted people to turn down on EVs. 

As reports suggest, it’s not that EVs were underpowered, the right word to use was “ not optimized” for power and performance. This was a major hurdle that Lithium Batteries overcame. Along the time duration as well they overcame cost barrier. Today Lead Acid is at 105USD – 107USD per Kwh whereas Lithium is at 250 USD – 290 USD per kWh ( for good quality cells ). Thus with diminishing price barrier, the market seems to have gotten the right appetite for an uptake along with the technological advancements made to control various parameters of discharge this ( EVs ) seems to be in a good spot to lead over IC counterparts. 

With the present set of vehicles higher energy density in cells means that we can extract more for lesser weight which was the main reason for lead acid batteries not taking off, the market dynamics are poised. 

Consumers in India really want a value for the money they spend. They as much could be excited about a new fad, new gizmo which may have a 49:51 split on CG, can i swap or not swap. But in terms of sales all of this translates to what a consumer really needs. He needs a bang for his buck. And with that its quite evident that major auto OEMs will come in with expensive vehicles just to say that “HI we are here as well” but the major adoption will be in two segments. Vehicles where usage would be high and vehicles where cost would be low. 

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Every time a consumer calls us or what we have found in a survey that we have done is “ I am convinced about EVs, but what’s the pricing”. This is what needs to be addressed. 

These are early days and there is renewed consumer interest which is only going to grow many folds in years to come. 

Mr. Akash Kaushik, CEO & Founder, Euclion Energy

Present environmental concerns are encouraging the manufacturing and sales of Electric vehicles. Year 2018 have revolutionized the Indian manufacturers’ conception towards Electric Vehicle as best alternatives to the conventional fuel cars. This new emerging market has led to various strategic alliances (Tata Motors with Fiat, M&M with Ford and Renault, Bajaj Auto with Kawasaki, and TVS with Suzuki, Jaguar Land Rover by Tata Motors, Ssangyong by M&M, and KTM by Bajaj Auto). 

Adoption of any Innovation by consumers is based on awareness and perception regarding the innovation. Basic parameters affecting the consumer behavior for the adoption of EVs are; 

1. Environmental Concern

 2. Cost of the vehicle 

3. Comfort

 4. Technology

 5. Infrastructure 

Environmental concern has been the prominent driving factors to encourage world governments for electric vehicle adoption to reduce carbon footprints and promote sustainable development. In India alone for FYI2019, total EV sales in India crossed the 7,50,000-units mark and reached a total of 7,59,600 units witnessing triple-digit growth (130 percent) year-on-year (YoY). Also introduction of FAME II scheme has been a major factor in boosting manufacturing of EVs in India. 

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Consumers usually see the factors such as cost and comfort which is the primary concern while purchasing any vehicle and relatively high cost of EVs as compared to conventional fuel based cars is one of the reasons for the slow shift toward EVs in India. 

Further the charging infrastructure development is the key challenge presently to slingshot the EV adoption rate in the country. After deployment of BHARAT EV Charging standards there are high hopes to see better charging infrastructure in coming years. 

However, having EVs on Indian roads do mark the beginning of change in the Indian market and society together to pave the way for a greener country by reducing the carbon footprints and adopting of renewable energy sources as the primary energy generation sources.

Mr. Inderjit Singh, Managing Director, Indygreen Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

With this question, at first instance a popular TV ad comes to my mind of a consumer product “aur aaj kal kya chal raha hai” and instead a regular reply , the one probable latest answer would be “aajkal to E-bike aur E-rickshaw chal raha hai”. Out of approx. 50 calls/day coming on our board no, 45 calls are for Lead/SMF/Lithium batteries for E-rickshaw & E-bike and these are from direct consumers than B-B calls. Therefore, undoubtedly, there is a big industrial revolution as well as tremendous customer evolution towards E-mobility nationwide. An unauthorized E-rickshaw starting out of a last mile connectivity in a Motorised city like Delhi-NCR/Hyderabad/Mumbai etc, extending towards an un-urbanised/rural area and finally getting space in Motor Act; clearly indicates huge industry and consumer behavior and adaptation shift towards E-mobility. I feel another TV ad of a 4 wheeler “kitna deti hai”, gets a highly satisfactory reply to consumers when they drive an E-bike at 50 Paise/km or less. Consumers on the one hand ,are actively looking solutions either for retrofit/upgrade of their existing bikes/cars to electric one and on the other hand who can afford to buy a new one; are evaluating specs/brands/cost/charging time/mileage etc. 

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Pan-India buzz of E-mobility is clear and loud enough, be it a retail consumer or intra & interstate public transport or a large logistic company, where over 200,000 E-vehicles are already on Indian roads. It’s just a matter of time for the eco-systems of sufficient charging stations access,battery swapping methods and availability, turbo chargers, reasonable Govt. subsidy, local manufacturing and finally the cost coming down of end consumer. E-vehicles with increasing volume, it is the biggest evolution our generation would be experiencing in decades in automobile sector. The transition could become a reality with central government’s massive and sustained push towards a complete switch to electric mobility/EESL Programs & recently announced FAME2. Centre is pushing for a full transition of three-wheelers, and scooters and motorcycles with engine capacities of less than 150cc to electric by 2023 and 2025, respectively. More than 200 models awaiting in ICAT approvals and getting ready to launch; whereas retailers are specifically targeting a big consumer demand in coming Deepawali festival.

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