Infinite Scrolling

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Incentives and infrastructure for Electric Vehicles in India: a possible way forward, make 'Charging Lots'

An electric car plying as a taxi near Delhi
The big news of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India today is the huge reduction in the tax rates for EVs and EV chargers. These taxes have been brought down to just 5%.

This is likely to further spur the increase of EVs on Indian roads.

It is natural to be concerned about how far an electric car will travel on a single charge. But what if every place the car is parked has a charging option. Then this becomes less of an issue in short haul intermittent city driving. We could call these portions of the parking lots 'Charging Lots'.

Internal combustion engine cars travel hundreds of kilometers on a single tank of fuel. It takes just a few minutes to refuel and the car is ready for another long trip. However, this fuel takes quite a journey to reach the petrol station. From the crude oil fields to the refinery and then to the pumps. You need ships, pipelines and oil tankers and all sorts of logistics coordination for this to happen.

EVs can travel shorter distances after a long charging time. However, electricity is already reaching every where. No fresh infrastructure is needed except for the actual charging point. No ships, pipelines and oil tankers.

Just set aside a part of every parking lot only for EVs and having charging points installed. Either set a flat parking fee or charge and pay system.

Doing this may make the use of EVs in cities a breeze.

Also see my blog post:
My take on the future of EVs
Cars like electric engines

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Electric Vehicles in India: we are at a cusp of change

For some years now, one has been spotting electric cars on Delhi’s roads. These instances were very few earlier but the frequency is improving. 

What is more, earlier we would see only one type, the Reva. This company which was bought by Mahindra in 2010 and a new model of this car the e2o was now the one we would see of and on. Now we see more cars, the Tata Tigor EV and Mahindra eVerito.  

It is always an exciting moment when you see an electric car. The car not having an exhaust pipe is an oddly delightful sight. The immediate thoughts are of appreciation of the pioneering people who have bought these vehicles. Then the possibility of buying one as the next car. 

The range of the electric car and delay in charging are the two issues which come to mind. The decision of buying a car would be easier if these issues are solved for the lay customer. One buys a car for the feeling of comfort, of being able to use it at the spur of the moment. Somehow electric cars are unable to give such a comfort level as of now.

The performance and ease of use of electric cars must become similar to internal combustion engine cars in order to make major inroads into this market. 

This is not, however, a need in the case of eRickshaws. These eRickshaws use normal lead acid batteries and simple electric motors. Their top speed is about 30 kmph. But they have proliferated in large numbers on our roads in Delhi National Capital Region.

Here the owner is looking at the vehicle earning him a livelihood. So it doesn’t matter. Passengers are always looking for short rides in these eRicksaws. So it is a simple cycle of charging the battery and earning money. The ‘charge and earn cycle’

eRickshaws being low tech vehicles are easy to build at very reasonable cost. 

Here we have a success story of electric vehicles in India.

With many more electric cars now being planned for Indian roads and with the incentives being given by the government, the day is not far when many more electric cars will be seen on Delhi’s roads. 

My guess is it will start with low cost cars. 

PS: also see my blog posts 
My take on the future of EVs
E rickshaw the ubiquitous vehicle: grass route technology is improving lives of people,
E Rickshaw shows the way: an electric vehicle success story

Friday, 12 July 2019

E-commerce or local commerce: convenience versus quality

We live in an e-commerce enabled world.

So why do we not buy everything through e-commerce. Why do we buy local. I share some views based on my own experiences.

Convenience is a major reason for buying things online. It is unbeatable as we just order through and app and the stuff is delivered to us on our doorstep.

But there is the issue of quality. The seller is some where far away geographically. Quality issues can not be addressed immediately. Local commerce wins here. You just pick up or change the product there and then.

E-commerce apps use reviews, feedback and replacement options to help customers get a good quality product. But these methods just cannot give the same experience as buying something from a shop.

Another way local shops compete with e-commerce apps is by giving home delivery on telephone. This works very well once trust is built up between the shop keeper and the customer. You still get the stuff delivered to your doorstep and quality is hardly ever an issue.

The large variety of similar products available on e-commerce apps is unbeatable. This is something local commerce cannot easily compete with. The simplicity of choosing from a large variety the exact product you need is quite unique to e-commerce apps.

Buying something from shops in your vicinity gives one a feeling of supporting your immediate community. Buying something from e-commerce, on the other hand, gives one a feeling of supporting a distance innovator. Both have their own place.

So it is really a contest between convenience and quality, it seems.

Tenets I followed: Facts not opinion