Owning an EV in India, these are the challenges I face
Owning an electric vehicle in the bustling crowd of petrol and diesel vehicles truly gives you a sense of individuality and distinctiveness. Curious glances from pedestrians and other motorists around, no sound from the vehicle, no tailpipe emission. In fact, no tailpipe at all. It was not a common sight even a few years ago, but now it is gradually becoming one.
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When I purchased my first electric scooter earlier this year, I was pretty excited about it. Not just to own a personal vehicle that will not bomb me with multi-figure petrol bills, but also to be a part of the so-called e-mobility revolution that is taking the world by storm.
Being a common buyer, my first preference was buying something that would be practical, easy to ride, perfect for daily commuting, not pocket-burning and of course with low cost of ownership. An electric scooter at that time seemed perfect ticking all these boxes. While surely the electric scooter scores well in all the segments, I have been facing some challenges as well.
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After riding this electric scooter for the last eight months, almost every alternate day with an average commuting distance of 10 km and a maximum of 60 km on a single charge; here are challenges I have been facing being an EV owner in India.
Lack of public EV charging infrastructure
Like a refuelling station is for petrol or diesel vehicles, recharging points are similar for EVs are. With continuous usage, the EV batteries' performance tends to depreciate over time. In such cases, recharging is required more often. However, finding a public EV charging station is pretty tough, at least in Kolkata, despite it being a metro city.
Even if you try to find an EV charging station around you on Google Maps, it is like searching for a needle in a haystack. A lack of public EV charging infrastructure results in range anxiety, while riding the electric scooter from one end of a large city to another end. Also, thinking about taking the electric scooter to highway stretches is a big no-no, as finding a charging point there will become more difficult.
This is certainly a concern for many EV owners like me. After experiencing zero charges on the road various times and pushing a lifeless EV to home, it is real anxiety I face, whenever I think about taking the electric scooter for a ride of around 50-60 km after a full charge.
Despite the EV maker, I purchased the electric scooter from, claiming that it can run 80 km on a single charge, the reality is grim. In reality, I found the scooter delivering around 60 km on a single charge. Carrying a co-passenger behind me reduces the range significantly. Hence, this remains a major concern that can be addressed by the availability of public EV recharging stations.
Lack of service options
Finding a service station for an ICE vehicle is as easy as finding a tobacco or paan shop around us. However, the case is completely different for electric vehicles. Though EVs come with much lesser moving parts, there is always a chance of short circuits or any other technical glitches. Twice I found issues with the scooter, that required the mechanic to help me out of the situation.
As there were no EV service stations nearby my place, I had to call the mechanic to my house and wait for him to come and repair the issue. The lack of service stations for electric vehicles is something many EV owners like me face every day.