A video shared by Anand Mahinda, leading industrialist and boss at automotive major Mahindra, had twitter abuzz. The video showed a man using a Honda portable genset to charge his Tesla car.
Range anxiety is a well-known challenge for EV makers to cross before they see mass-market adoption. At current prices, adding range usually comes at a price that takes EV’s beyond most mass-market price points. Which explains the dependence on subsidies, or the many out of the box innovations, or ‘jugaad’ we see with EV’s.
While rapidly evolving battery and charging technology with swappable batteries and DC fast charging is one way to make a case for EV’s, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra shared a really funny case this week.
Mahindra, who is a very active and popular ‘influencer’ on the microblogging platform, shared a video of a Tesla user carrying a portable Honda generator in the boot of the car for charging the vehicle in case the need arises.
“And we thought jugaad was purely an Indian talent!” said the tweet from Mahindra, invoking a barrage of comments on how this workaround was an innovative ‘range extender” for electric vehicles.
And we thought jugaad was purely an Indian talent! Hilarious. A Honda powered Tesla… pic.twitter.com/SHlLSuiS1n
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) August 9, 2020
But this kind of defeats the whole purpose, no? The idea of an electric vehicle is just not about the tech to make our commute green, but also to cut emission and reduce vehicular pollution.
This tweet then highlights what’s very wrong with the effort to go green with e-cars or vehicles. Using fossil-fuel run generators to charge e-vehicles, even for emergency situations, kind of negates the whole gain from the idea of an electric mobility solution.
Yes, using power generated from 100% renewable sources to charge is not feasible yet but this idea itself is so mind-numbing for those fighting to reduce pollution and the effects of climate change.
Mahindra then went on to tag Dr Pawan Goenka, MD of Mahindra and Mahesh Babu, CEO of Mahindra Electric in a tweet, saying “We may have an answer to ‘Range Anxiety’ until longer duration batteries are affordable! Except that we should ensure it’s a @PowerolMahindra small generator.”
That again then is so very wrong at many levels. This defeats the very purpose of an electric vehicle; to do good for the environment and cut the levels of rapidly worsening air quality in our cities, towns and now even in pristine lands.
In the comments on Mahindra’s tweet, a Twitter user also shared a link to a YouTube video showing a bus in Pune being charged with a diesel-powered generator and also a link to a mobile EV charger already in the market for such “emergency situations”.
Innovation to overcome a challenge and for doing larger good is always welcome. But such seemingly smart workarounds only harm the genuine effort and sweat of the many who look at providing alternate clean mobility solutions.
Our roads need more e-vehicles for an urgent reason: to cut vehicular emissions and help fight the battle against smog and pollution. We hope Mahindra’s tweet does less harm and more good in raising awareness of the damage a solution which he calls “jugaad” can do if this catches on.
What might help is the full version of the said video, which we found here. Looking at it, it is hard to believe that the owner is for real, for he doesn’t even seem to be aware that the car runs on electricity, not gasoline!