What are the advantages and challenges of EV?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 08/02/2024

Electric cars are quick, efficient, and relatively more eco-friendly when compared to their fuel-run counterparts. Therefore, it is no surprise that more and more buyers are inclined to purchase electric cars.

In the current scenario with increased air and noise pollution and traffic, the need for electric vehicles is recognised by frustrated drivers across the nation. However, for any informed purchase, it is important to look at both sides of the coin.

In this regard, it comes with the consideration of not only the advantages of electric vehicles (EVs) but also their limitations and disadvantages.

But before we dissect electric vehicles in India: advantages and disadvantages, it is important to establish a clear understanding of what an EV is.

What is an Electric Vehicle?

An electric vehicle is either partly or entirely powered by electricity. Since there are fewer moving components in an electric car, EVs are relatively easier to maintain. Moreover, since EVs do not employ fossil fuels such as diesel or petrol, they are also better for the environment when compared to their conventional counterparts.

Instead of a combustion engine, electric cars are powered by a rechargeable battery pack. These batteries need to be recharged regularly. The battery of an EV is not only responsible for generating power for the car but is also used in the car’s lights and wipers.

Additionally, since EVs lack the regular fuel components of a traditional car, their maintenance is more cost-effective.

Certain car manufacturers have also designed hybrid cars that run on both electric and gas power to maximise fuel efficiency and energy efficiency.

Now that we know what EVs are, let us take a look at the benefits of electric vehicles in India.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

There are two primary concerns in the current global transport landscape: soaring fuel prices and increasing carbon emissions. This has highlighted the need for electric vehicles.

Since EVs have the potential to significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and fight climate change, they are rising in popularity.

Here are some key advantages of electric vehicles:

Lower running cost: Since the soaring costs of diesel or petrol do not apply to your electric vehicle, you can save a lot of money almost regularly.

This is because when you compare the cost of charging your EV to refuelling a conventional vehicle, the discrepancy between the costs of the two is significant.

Cheaper maintenance: Fuel-powered vehicles require regular maintenance because they have a lot of moving parts. Comparatively, EVs have fewer moving parts, and therefore the cost of maintenance is lower.

Incentives and tax benefits: As the Government of India is encouraging the purchase of EVs, several policies and incentives are offered to buyers for investing in this new technology.

For example, the road tax and registration fees for purchasing EVs are lower compared to that of an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).

Better performance: EVs formerly had a reputation for being impractical, but the innovation has come a long way since.

Car makers have now developed practical, well-designed, and good-looking EVs and their performance has witnessed a transformative shift.

Zero tail-pipe emissions: Pure EVs have zero tail-pipe emissions which reduces air pollution. So, one of the benefits of electric vehicles is improving our environment.

Smooth and quiet driving experience: Not only are EVs easier to drive but they are also quiet on the road, contributing to lesser sound pollution.

Convenience of home charging: You need not queue up at fuel stations because you can conveniently charge your EV at home. With newer innovations in EVs, it is possible to charge your car or bike quickly.

EV owners can also take advantage of the battery-swapping technology to drive without the worry of running out of power.

Spacious cabin: As EVs employ fewer moving parts, it has provided car makers the opportunity to design spacious cabins and offer a larger boot space. Some models also have storage space under the hood because there is no conventional ICE.

Future proof: The inclination towards EVs is observable with buyers preferring them owing to their lower running costs and maintenance costs.

Moreover, EVs reduce dependence on fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel and so they are considered as a more sustainable alternative. In other words, EVs are driving a greener change in transportation.

Having explored the many advantages it is now time to explore some electric vehicles’ challenges.

Limitations of Electric Vehicles

For any informed purchase it is important to analyse both its advantages as well as its drawbacks.

This can help ensure that you are not unpleasantly surprised by any aspect of buying an EV. With that in mind, here are some noteworthy electric vehicle challenges:

It takes hours to charge: Perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of EVs is that they take a lot of time to charge fully. In comparison, the process of ICEs is purely mechanical where one simply has to pour fuel in a tank.

For EVs on the other hand, charging times can vary from 20 minutes to over six hours so if you have not charged your EV and you are in a rush, you have no choice but to look for an alternative for commuting.

Inadequate charging infrastructure: Although you have the option of charging your EV at home, your options are significantly limited when you are out and have to recharge.

As the EV industry is still in its nascent stage, the charging station infrastructure is still only developing so charging stations are not as ubiquitous as petrol stations.

Limited driving range:** Another classic limitation of electric vehicles is the driving range. Even with innovations in technology emerging every day, there are very few EVs that offer more than 600 km of range.

Expensive to purchase: A prominent hindrance in the mass adoption of EVs has been their price. EVs have a higher cost of purchase when compared to an ICE with similar features and technical characteristics.

Although this discrepancy has been decreasing, batteries remain costly and investment in innovative technology and research contribute to these costs.

Costly battery replacements:** The battery is the heart and brain of an EV. While manufacturers are constantly working towards improving their efficiency and lifespan, their replacement can come at a significant cost to vehicle owners. Comparatively, in an ICE, the battery replacement is inexpensive.

Not completely eco-friendly: Although EVs do not emit greenhouse gases (which results in cleaner air), they are not an entirely green alternative. However, the lithium and other heavy materials that are used in batteries have to undergo complex industrial processes that generate harmful gas emissions.

Additionally, this extraction can have a more significant impact on the countries from which these materials are mined.

Temperature affects EVs adversely: Hot, cold, or any other temperature in between, can affect the performance of your EV. This might mean that occasionally, your expected driving range can fall short which may leave you stranded somewhere.

Comparative Analysis: Electric Vehicles in India Advantages and Disadvantages

Here is a table outlining the pros and cons of EVs so buyers can make an informed decision before purchasing their next vehicle:

Benefits of EVs Drawbacks of EVs
EVs run on batteries leading to zero tailpipe emissions and the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. This keeps air pollution under control.   EVs are not completely green as the lithium and other heavy materials used in batters have to be mined and heavily processed which can adversely impact source countries. 
In light of soaring fuel costs, EVs are a relief because charging costs are significantly lower. Moreover, because EVs have fewer moving parts, their maintenance costs are also lesser when compared to ICEs. Battery is the most essential component of an EV and if it is not maintained well, any repairs and replacements could burn a hole in the pocket of the EV owner. Comparatively, ICE car batteries are cheaper to replace.
EVs promise a superior driving experience that is not only smooth but also noiseless. EVs take a lot of time to fully charge so it might be challenging to plan longer trips with EVs. 
To encourage the purchase of EVs, the Indian government has been offering incentives and tax benefits.  Despite government efforts, EVs are priced higher than their equivalent ICE cars that have similar features and technical characteristics.

The Bottom Line

The benefits of electric vehicles outweigh their drawbacks. However, knowing the limitations can help buyers plan for their new purchase in advance. Investing in comprehensive car insurance for your EV is one way to safeguard your purchase from unforeseeable circumstances.

In light of the government’s boost for the purchase of EVs in India, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has stipulated a 15% discount on premiums for third-party insurance for cars. However, while third-party motor insurance secures your vehicle against liabilities to third-party, it is always advised to invest in comprehensive insurance for a car.

Tata AIG comprehensive motor insurance secures you from a host of unpleasant scenarios right from accidents and theft to natural and man-made disasters. With us, EV owners can also customise their comprehensive insurance for a car, with add-ons such as roadside assistance that can come to your aid if your car breaks down.

Those who already have motor insurance can also get their car insurance renewal done online. Forgetting timely car insurance renewal can lead to policy lapse and leave you exposed to vulnerabilities on the road.

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