Connect to share and comment

Electric cars in India: Where's the buzz?

Plenty of electric cars are made here. Few are bought. Here's why.

In India, for instance, power charging infrastructure is scarce.

“The efficiency of the car, the lack of charging infrastructure, maintaining battery-powered cars are all issues,” says Sugato Sen, senior director of the New Delhi-based Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The Reva’s limited battery capacity has certainly been a drag on sales. The need for repeated charging is putting off buyers. The car must be plugged in daily after use, making it a logistical nightmare to own and drive.

Additionally, India offers no inducement to become a convert to greener, low-on-emission electric cars, unlike the United States where the government provides generous tax subsidies for buyers of environment-friendly vehicles. “In every country where electric cars are sold, governments have played a strong enabling role but there is no such government push in India,” says Sen.

Reva’s modest seating space and, of course, its price are other sore points with car buyers in India. Here, small car competitor Nano sells for $2,500 but a Reva costs several multiples of that. So will any others launching in the future? All signs now point to a rough road ahead for electric cars in India.