India is trying to join the electric revolution by offering electric vehicles made by Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd to senior government officials. However, the plan does not seem to be going as expected by these officials.
According to Mint, senior government officials have refused to use these electric vehicles procured and deployed by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a public sector unit under the ministry of power. The supply of electric variants of Mahindra’s Verito and Tata Motors’ Tigor EV were delayed due to lack of charging infrastructure.
Tata Motors and Mahindra were to supply 350 units and 150 units respectively to the Union government in the first phase. The companies were to give 9,500 units of electric vehicles subsequently to EESL with Mahindra giving 40 percent of the total. The report notes that these government officials are returning models from Mahindra and Tata Motors since they failed to run even 80-82km on a single charge within city limits. One official told the publication that the battery capacity was not up to the mark compared to global standards.
The initial deadline for procuring these electric vehicles was November 30, 2017 but got pushed to December 30, 2017 due to lack of charging infrastructure. Now, EESL has acknowledge that only around 150 vehicles have been procured till date. “Since it is a new technology, we wanted to gain confidence on our products before delivering it to our clients,” an EESL spokesperson told Mint.
“We will be deploying about 200-250 electric vehicles by mid-July. The conditions of the second tender are being re-evaluated and will be released soon. EESL will continue to enable more energy and fuel savings by creating a robust market for e-mobility in India.”
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A senior industry executive says these two models have battery packs of 17 kilowatt (kW) while the global standard is 27 to 35kW. Mahindra has even acknowledged shortcomings with its E-Verito model and is currently developing a new electric vehicle that offers more mileage. The lack of mileage and infrastructure for charging these models is making government official apprehensive of jumping onto electric vehicles.
Electrification of automobiles is a global phenomenon where most countries offer subsidy and option to charge their vehicles for free when they purchase electric vehicles. The government has been initiating similar projects and has asked automotive companies to start deploying electric vehicles. However, the elusive problem is the lack of charging infrastructure and low range offered by existing models.