India not ready for electric cars, says Volkswagen India chief

The managing director of Volkswagen India, Andreas Lauermann, has just put expression to what most car buyers seem to think, that India is not yet ready for electric cars. Unlike petrol and diesel powered cars, electric cars sold in India need to be recharged on a daily basis as their battery ranges are quite limited. And there’s not enough quick charging outlets. Even in apartment complexes, finding a 3 phase electric charging point is a challenge that many owners of electric cars are currently facing.

Here is what Mr. Lauermann had to say,

I believe it was a good step from the government to put it (EVs) on the agenda. It is absolutely necessary for India. But we all know that India is a not really prepared for such a step at the moment. Also in terms of technology, India should be clear what kind of technology it wants. On the compatibility of the company’s existing EVs with the Indian market, he said, “When we look at our EVs at the moment with the technology, it is a little too early there (in India).

The Indian government is going ahead with mass electrification of the car fleet that its department and public sector industries use. It’s electric car sourcing arm, called the EESL, has already purchased a few hundred electric cars – the Tata Tigor Electric and Mahindra eVerito sedans – for use by government departments. EESL plans to buy about 20,000 electric cars in the next couple of years, making most government departments ‘electric car-ready’. The Indian government is also setting up charging stations, equipped with quick charging options.

Automakers, not surprisingly, are guarded against introducing electric cars in a big way. While Mahindra and Tata Motors are currently the front runners, Hyundai and Maruti will introduce their first electric cars only in 2019 ad 2020 respectively. Both cars from Hyundai and Maruti will be for testing waters, and figuring out whether India is ready for a big push in electric mobility. Similarly, other car makers such as Renault and Toyota are readying up their own electric car plans for India, but we’re still a few years away from mass electrification of cars here.