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Published:Monday, December 10, 2018 5:05 PM

Is Electric Vehicle a better option than the Conventional Vehicles?

oil and gas

Introduction: The evolution of electric vehicle was started back in 1832, when a British inventor Robert Anderson developed the first functional electric vehicle. Though the car was far behind practical vehicle but it can be considered as an initiator in electric vehicle market. In 1891, Ferdinand Porsche introduced his car model P1. This car, model was company’s first ever electric vehicle. Thereafter, in 1914 Thomas Edison and Henry Ford collaborated to build low-cost electric vehicle but the project didn’t worked out well. Thereafter in the year 1908, Ford started mass production of its IC engines cars which became popular in that era. Though the maintenance and service of electric vehicle was low but its initial cost was high. Moreover the growing focus on technology development for IC engine was high and low price of gasoline in that era made accelerated the growth of IC engines.

Global and Indian Market Scenario: Today the electric vehicle market is growing rapidly around the globe. Globally, the total number of electric cars has reached about three million units.  Around one million new electric cars were sold in 2017, registering the growth of around 54% when compared with statistics of 2016. The total number of electric buses have increased to around 3,70,000 units and electric two-wheelers reached around 250 million as on 2017. As per FAME-India, about 2,61,581 units of EVs were sold till November 2018 in India. Of the total EVs sold, nearly 54% were two-wheelers, 45% were passenger/LCV vehicles and rest 3% were three wheelers. Indian states registering highest growth in sales of EVs are Maharashtra (33976 EVs), Gujarat (31,267 EVs), Uttar Pradesh (26,187 EVs), Delhi (19,378 EVs), and Tamil Nadu (16,739 EVs).

The reasons behind the growth of Indian EV market are the government initiatives and the increasing cost of petroleum products in Indian Market. In 2012, the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 was established by the government to promote usage of hybrid and electric vehicles. Under the scheme, an incentive scheme like: Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME), was launched in 2015 to reduce the upfront purchase price of hybrid and electric vehicles and to stimulate their early adoption and growth. In May 2017, the National Institution for Transforming India also outlined a vision for the transformation of mobility to accelerate India’s participation in advanced mobility around the globe. In early 2018, the Ministry of Power launched National Electric Mobility Programme to focus on developing EVs battery charging infrastructure and a policy framework structured to accelerate sales of EVs by around 30% as compared of EVs sales in 2018, by the end of 2030. Apart from the policy the growing prices of petrol and diesel may play a major role to increase the sales of electric vehicles in upcoming time.

Infrastructure: Like conventional vehicles, EVs too requires power to drive and electricity is the source of power for them. Currently, there are around 222 charging stations in India. Moreover, the Government of India and state government have taken various steps to setup charging stations in metro cities. As per official sources, it has been estimated to develop around 30,000 slow charging and around 15,000 fast charging stations in upcoming 3-5 years. Number of government entities such as NTPC, Power Grid Corporation and Indian Oil are taking initiative to develop many EVs charging station. In 2017, Ola Cabs along with IOC had setup India first charging station in Nagpur as a pilot project. The project was initiated and executed under faster adoption and manufacturing of (Hybrid & Electric Vehicles) in India (FAME) Scheme of the Government. By now, around twenty five Charging Stations have been installed at 6 different locations in Bangalore by M/s. Mahindra REVA Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. in 2017. The Project Implementation & Sanctioning Committee (PISC) under the chairmanship of Secretary (Dept. of Heavy Industry) has sanctioned following proposal of charging infrastructures under FAME-India Scheme in 2017:

Sl. No.


Implementing Organization


Proposal for setting up of 50 charging stations in Delhi NCR

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)


Proposal for setting up of 50 Charging Stations in Delhi NCR.

Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited (REIL)


Proposal for setting up of 200 charging stations (both AC and DC fast) in the cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Chandigarh.

Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited (REIL)


Proposal for providing 75 AC Smart Charger in Delhi NCR of Delhi.

Consortium of Mahindra- Reva -Ola -Asia Electric


Proposal for 60 No. Charging Infrastructure in NCR of Delhi.

Lithium Urban Technologies Pvt. Ltd.













Production and supply infrastructure of petro-products is well developed in India with twenty two refineries and 62,585 numbers of fuel retail outlets for the end consumers. Moreover, PSU like IOCL, BPCL, and HPCL have planned to add around 25,000 more retail outlets and eight refineries in upcoming years to come. Apart from this, the government has also planned to increase the existing 247 MMTPA capacity of refineries by around 136 MMTPA in upcoming time. This is indicative of the government attitude towards the promotion of conventional fuels over EVs as majority of the industrial, commercial, and domestic infrastructure in India is still based on conventional fuels for fulfilling energy requirements

Electrical Vehicle vs. Conventional Vehicle:



Conventional Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

Sales (Nos)





Electricity (battery)


CO2, COX, NOX and Particulate Matters



Spark Plug / Compression Engine

3 Phase AC Induction Motors


High on maintenance as it has various moving parts i.e high on wear and tear.

Low on maintenance as it has few moving parts i.e low in wear and tear.

Cost per vehicle

Initial cost is low compared to EVs (Rs 2.6-3 Lakh)

High on cost as compared to conventional vehicles (Rs 6-7 Lakh)

Infrastructure Required

High manufacturing units with 62585 retail outlets

Low manufacturing unit with negligible charging stations. The charging stations builds are in pilot projects.

Operating Cost (per KM)

Rs 4.55 (Considering mileage as 18Km with price of petrol as Rs 82 in Delhi)

Rs 0.7 (Considering range as 140Km, on-board battery power as 15 KWHR and electricity tariff in Delhi as Rs 6.5)


Future Outlook: India is a crude import dependent country, shown by the fact that around 82%-85% crude was imported in 2017-18 to fulfill energy requirements of the country. Consumption of petro products and their prices are going higher day by day which would definitely push the need for moving towards electric mobility in upcoming time. Government is very serious towards decreasing the crude import dependency, by around 10% but on the other hand the import of crude oil has risen by 3.33% in current FY 2018-19, when compared with FY 2017-18. Domestic crude oil production was never enough to meet the demand and it is fluctuating consistently from past 10 years, pressing for more import of crude in the country. By looking upon the ever rising demand of crude oil in the country it seems that it is almost impossible to meet the demand through indigenous production of crude. Ageing oil fields and slow monetization of newly discovered hydrocarbon reserves would further add in the adversity of domestic crude shortage which calls for a sustainable and clean source of energy to reduce the impact of foreign imports of crude oil. Apart from it, crude oil and petro product prices are market dependent in India which also fluctuates as per international market. On other hand, India is having surplus of electricity production and it is not dependent on foreign imports of electricity. This would give the extra edge for developing EVs charging infrastructure in the country. Moreover electricity tariff doesn’t fluctuate as per international market neither it changes on daily basis, thus it would be cost effective and cheap alternative for electric mobility in the country. After analyzing the operating cost of both the vehicle types, as mentioned above in the table, the EV market must get a boost in near future both from consumer and manufacturer sides.

Challenges: It is evident that EVs are economical and cleaner to use and also the most sustainable way for mobility but still there are few challenges listed below that must be overcome to boost the existing Indian EV market. 

Ø  Lack of EVs charging infrastructure

Ø  Poor knowledge and lack of advanced technology

Ø  Lack of government and private sector initiatives

Ø  High initial price of Electric Vehicles

Conclusion: It is certain that large scale inclusion of Electric Vehicles among the masses would not only reduce the dependency on conventional fuels to certain limit but also provide an economical and sustainable mode of transportation to the people of India. Present global focus on climate change and growing pollution levels in metro cities of India, represents an ideal time to act on the application of EVs in mobility sector of the country. This would help to combat the growing pollution levels to a greater extent. Lack of public awareness, lack of proper charging infrastructure, low production from automotive companies, and higher prices of EVs are major restraints for the EVs market in India. A firm focus is required from both government and private players to deduce various policies, regulation and technologies to promote EVs market in India. Conventional vehicle market is still booming around the globe attributed by the easy availability of fossil fuels and lack of suitable alternatives. In spite of higher prices, petro-products are easily available which mandates the consumers to stick to the conventional vehicles. Evolution of EVs would give a second choice to the existing customers for cleaner and more economic mobility. Since infrastructure, government and private player initiatives are low as of now so it would require more time for India to get a proper EVs market.

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