The Car Confusion


By Antony Powath

Antony Powath is the President of Asian Business Media, the publishers of Rubber Asia, Tyre Asia and AutoParts Asia.
He travels a lot and is keen on learning new things, technologies and trends in the manufacturing space. An avid basketball player, he sees the opportunity often to bring out-of-the-box thinking to the business, by deploying the best practices of one industry to the other.
YNOT is the reverse of TONY, his nickname. Tony always asks ‘Why Not’ whenever someone objects to any disruption, idea and suggestion. Hence the column is titled YNOT.

What should I buy? Petrol, diesel, or electric? This is what goes on in the minds of every car owner who has to switch the aging car, done with it or wants a change, as several tempting new options are available.
Petrol and diesel prices in India are rising daily and the difference between the two has narrowed virtually to naught. People are becoming more wary of choosing diesel cars.

ABB has come out with a plan to charge electric cars in eight minutes for a 200km drive. If it really comes into place, it would be attractive to the Indian consumer. However, the eight-minute charging stations may lead to more traffic jams. There should be many more charging stations across the country, in cities and on highways, to make e-mobility feasible.

America had one of the coldest winters last season, and many e-cars, though fully charged, did not give the promised mileage. Cars that had to run for 270 miles stopped at 170. This could be dangerous, especially for drivers in North India where the winter can’t be compared to what happens in America. With the fluctuating weather patterns anything is possible. For e-cars there are quite a few to choose from, but only one name comes to mind and that is Tesla. With Tesla making plans to enter India by this year-end, it may further confuse the Indian buyer; whether or not to buy a new petrol, diesel, hybrid, or e-car in which case it would be Tesla.

Tesla is the Apple of the vehicle industry. It is new, different, exciting and will be for the elite. Not forgetting that it could also be a status symbol.

We know that e-cars are the future. But the question is: how near or far is the future, and what could be the resale price of petrol or diesel cars after the entry of the e-car?

One important factor for the Government to look into before e-cars ply on the roads is the disposal of the worn out batteries. Already India is reported to be having the largest number of highly polluted cities in the world. Battery recycling could be developed into a big business.

Impending elections and the possible change of power in Delhi has put the car buyers into a ‘to purchase or not to purchase now’ dilemma. Will the new dispensation lead to a price rise or fall?

What is certain is that people will be in a wait-and-watch mode till the mid-year for clarity on prices and for the future on how fast or slowly e-cars would come to the market!

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