Initially, people bought a car. Then, they had the option to choose between a petrol and a diesel version. Then, with rising costs came the options of CNG and LPG. Those who had a few lakhs extra to spare went for hybrid versions. Now, there’s the choice of cars that run completely on electric motors.
Though the electric motor technology has been around for a while, it has gathered momentum only in the last few years, at least in the passenger vehicle segment, thanks to the government push and the increased global chatter around clean energy and sustainability, and most important, the grave realisation that fossil fuels won’t be around for too long.
Electric Vehicles or EVs as they are commonly called, offer a host of benefits over conventional cars powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) that run on fossil fuels. EVs are noiseless; have fewer moving parts because of their inherent design, which also means lower maintenance costs; have a constant torque and power delivery, right from the start, which provides faster pick-up in city traffic as against ICE cars, which have a specific engine range; and lastly, they are cleaner and greener as they have no tailpipe emission in the form of noxious fumes.
But more than everything else, they have the cheapest running cost among the three options – petrol, diesel and electric.
Our calculation, for a 1,000 km ride a month, shows that EVs have the cheapest running cost, around Rs 900-1,000 per month, as compared to petrol or diesel cars, which have running costs of a little over Rs 5,400 for petrol, and around 7,200 for diesel. Surely, EVs win the battle in terms of monthly running costs.
But is it that simple? Winning a ‘BATTLE’ doesn’t guarantee the ultimate victory in ‘WAR’, for sure!
What about the total cost of ownership? EVs are, by default, priced significantly higher by a few lakh rupees over their petrol and diesel versions. For instance, the Tata Nexon base petrol version costs Rs 8.89 lakh in Mumbai, the base diesel costs Rs 10.30 lakh, and the base EV costs Rs 15.66 lakh. It is pricier by Rs 5.36 lakh over the diesel, and Rs 6.77 lakh over the petrol.
With that kind of money, one might as well consider going for another make or model that offers more bells and whistles for the same amount of money. Besides the technology (EV vs ICE) and a little bit of comfort, the overall look and feel of the car would be the same as the less-expensive petrol or diesel. Psychologically speaking, spending more money to drive around in a less-expensive looking model (no one out on the street will check the engine and the technology at first glance, but rather the shape and the design of the car) may not be to everybody’s liking.
But that doesn’t reveal the entire picture either. There are other factors to consider like battery replacement costs, charging time and facilities, and the overall infrastructure of the electricity grid that has to be taken into consideration to arrive at a final conclusion. What about running more kilometres per month, say 2,000 kms or 3,000 kms, or more per month? Which will be a better choice for you then? A petrol, diesel or an EV?
Click here to read the in-depth story complete with calculations and tables.