The writing is on the wall: in the next one to two decades, fossil fuel driven vehicles would eventually be phased out in all parts of the world. A larger momentum has started building up in the favour of EVs all across the world with India being no exception, even as there are serious question marks on its strategy to prepare the basic infrastructure for non-fossil fuel vehicles. A latest report from the leading research and consultancy agency Frost & Sullivan, however, points at another serious issue which is actually two-pronged in nature. Firstly, the awareness level of Indian consumers on the new age vehicles is too low. And then even if some of them are aware of how trends will change in the mobility business, majority is not buying the idea of paying more for EVs than their petrol and diesel vehicles they have used to for decades. The agency highlighted these points in a presentation made at the recently concluded GIL Council (Growth Innovation Leadership Council) breakfast session held with a few industry veterans and stalwarts from companies like Ashok Leyland, Lucas TVS, Mahindra & Mahindra, TAFE, Rane Brake Lining, Daimler, etc.
The agency in its presentation strongly emphasized that “while about 75% of the customers are aware of Mild Hybrid vehicles, majority of the customers are only slightly/somewhat aware of EV.” The overall awareness point given by the agency is 3 which simply qualifies “somewhat aware” category. Majority of the customers are also not receptive to the idea of paying more for EVs in the future. According to the agency presentation, 40 percent of customers would like to pay less for EVs than their current vehicles. Even those who know that EVs will be more expensive, only 15 percent are comfortable with the idea of paying over 30 percent more than the fossil fuel vehicles they are currently using.
Meanwhile, at the GIL council meeting, the participants broadly agreed that EVs growth in India will initially be led by the two-wheeler segment before making a mark in the larger passenger vehicles category.