When you bear in mind that India has one of the largest population in the world, it will come as no surprise to learn that a raft of electric vehicle manufacturers are targeting this region of the world for the future. The likes of BMW, Nissan and local automobile manufacturer Tata Motors have all been waxing lyrical about the potential of the Indian EV market. At this moment in time there are a number of challenges which need to be overcome before the release of mass market electric vehicles but there has been significant progress and it is obvious the potential is enormous.
We will now take a look at a number of the challenges which are facing electric vehicle manufacturers in India and timescales for success.
Like so many governments around the world, the Indian authorities are still investing in a comprehensive widespread electric car recharging network. The likes of BMW, which is very keen to introduce the BMW i3 to India, have been in talks with the Indian authorities about the infrastructure issue. There is no doubt that progress is being made and while initially electric vehicle use will likely be centred upon the major cities of India, slowly but surely as the recharging network grows, this coverage will expand.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The BMW i3 electric car will be showcased at the Frankfurt auto show in September with sales expected in 2014. In something of a rarity for the electric vehicle market, BMW is absolutely convinced this vehicle, and the forthcoming BMW i8, will be a game changer for the company and the industry."
It was interesting to see that while historically there have been problems with the efficiency of electric vehicle battery packs in relatively hot weather, this issue seems to have been addressed. It is highly unlikely that the Indian climate will have any material impact upon the efficiency of electric vehicles and their introduction to the Indian marketplace. It will be interesting to see how quickly mass-market and luxury end electric vehicles are embraced by the Indian motoring fraternity and the feedback on performance and efficiency compared to colder climates.
Which companies are targeting India?
It would probably be quicker to list the companies which are not targeting the Indian electric vehicle market in the longer term. It would be commercial suicide to write off this particular area of the world when you take into account the growing wealth, growing number of the middle classes, and indeed the overall population. There are still a number of logistical and manufacturing issues to be addressed but when you see names such as Nissan, BMW and Tata Motors readying themselves for the Indian market, it does give you hope for the future.
The fact that local automobile manufacturer Tata Motors has committed itself to growing its hybrid and electric vehicle portfolio until at least 2020 is another vote of confidence. It seems unlikely that electric vehicles will not have cracked some of the major mass markets around the world by 2020, such as the U.S., and the likes of India will not fall far behind. In many ways this is an industry which has gone too far to turn back, continues to receive significant investment and encouragement from governments around the world and in all honesty we do appear to be on the verge of something big.
India is likely to become a prominent electric vehicle market in due course and perhaps the only thing holding back the industry at the moment is a lack of comprehensive recharging facilities. However, that is changing!