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What are electric vehicles?

If you're looking for a more sustainable mode of transport, an electric vehicle could be the right option for you.

With the average car now costing around INR3,800 to fill up at a petrol pump, switching to an electric vehicle (EV) could reduce your costs in the long run, as well as lower your carbon footprint.

Not only that, you'd be ahead of the e-mobility game: the Indian government plans to achieve a target of 30% EV sales penetration (roughly 60 million electric vehicles) by 2030. [@international-energy]

If the idea of an electric vehicle has "accelerated" your interest, read our guide to find out more.

4 types of electric vehicles

EVs are becoming more financially accessible, with a range of makes and models available.

The 4 types of EVs on the market are:

  • battery electric vehicle
  • hybrid electric vehicles
  • plug-in electric vehicles, which use both petrol or diesel and electricity
  • hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles

The 2 most popular types in India are 100% electric vehicles, also known as pure electric vehicles, and hybrids. 

Battery EVs

Fully electric vehicles are powered solely by rechargeable batteries. Just like a mobile phone, you plug it in and wait for it to charge. When it's ready, the batteries will power the electric engine, setting your wheels in motion. 

Electric 2-wheelers can travel around 84 kilometres per charge; 4-wheel EVs can go an average of 150 to 200 kilometres. Some of the latest electric vehicle models can go over 500 kilometres on a single charge.

Road trip!

Hybrid EVs

Hybrid vehicles use more than one way to power the engine – typically a battery-powered motor and a petrol/diesel engine. These models generally consume less fuel and emit less CO2 than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, so they can be a good transition into the EV market. 

Advantages of electric vehicles

There are a number of benefits to driving an electric vehicle.

Improved air quality

CO2 emissions from petrol or diesel vehicles are almost 3 times that of 100% electric vehicles, even after taking electricity production into account.[@e-mobility] EVs run on electricity, and therefore emit no tailpipe exhaust fumes.

Driving in comfort

As the electric motor is much simpler than a traditional engine, EVs can be quicker to accelerate, and feel lighter to drive. They can be easier to operate than ICE vehicles because there are no gears to shift. And without a combustion and mechanical drivetrain, EVs are much quieter, too.

Low running costs

With fewer mechanical components compared to their ICE counterparts, electric vehicles often have lower charging, maintenance and operational costs. And while the upfront cost can sometimes be higher, this is offset by central/state government subsidies.

You can estimate the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an EV on the Government of India Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) website.

Tax and financial incentives for EV owners

Using an EV in India comes with all sorts of advantages. 

Four-wheel passenger cars and other EVs are eligible to get a subsidy under the government's Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme.

Every state in India offers incentives for the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles. These include:

  • Goods & Services Tax (GST) cut from 12% to 5%
  • 15% discount on third-party liability insurance
  • interest-free and tax deductions on EV loans
  • road tax exemption at the time of purchase
  • new vehicle registration fee waived
  • incentives for scrapping and de-registering old ICE vehicles

The FAME scheme also offers subsidies for the early installation of charging stations. 

Other considerations

Like with any car purchase, there are things you'll need to take into consideration when looking at EVs.

The time it takes to charge

It can take some time to charge an electric vehicle, depending on the type of electric vehicle and the type of charging station you have. Slow to moderate chargers can take 1 to 8 hours to charge the battery to 80%; rapid chargers can usually charge compatible electrical vehicle batteries to 80% in under 1 hour.[@accelerated-e-mobility]

Availability of charging stations

Knowing where to charge your electric vehicle can be a concern, especially if you have a long journey planned. The range you'll get from your electric vehicle will depend on the make and model, as well as how you drive it. 

Many public places have charging points installed. You can search online or use an app to locate charging points. Some apps can also be used to book a time slot and pay for the charge, if there's a fee. 

Lifespan and disposal of EV batteries

Most EVs in India run on lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), and these usually have a warranty of 3 to 8 years. The battery could last up to 20 years before it needs replacing.[@accelerated-e-mobility]

The Indian government has issued guidelines that require LIB manufacturers to be responsible for the spent batteries, from collecting and storage to recycling and disposal. Despite this, the country does not have a sufficient recycling system in place, and the government recognises that there is an opportunity for improvement.  

Upfront costs

Electric cars are seen to be more expensive than the petrol and diesel options. Initial costs can seem high when you consider the purchase price of the vehicle, plus the cost of installing a home charging station.

EVs are becoming more and more accessible to a wider market. There's a range of different EVs on the market, so it's important to look at all the options available if you're looking to buy an electric vehicle.

Vehicle insurance

Electric or not, you will need to buy insurance for your car. We offer the SmartDrive Private Car Insurance Policy through ICICI Lombard General Insurance. This comprehensive insurance provides protection for your car and passengers. 

It covers accidental damage to your car and third-party liability, and you can opt for extras coverage such as loss or damage to electrical accessories.  

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