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Breaking down EV myths in India: vehicle experience and shared electric mobility

1 October 2020, 12:57 UTC 4 min read

Vinay Rotti, Head – Policy & Strategic Finance at Bounce and Pradeep Karuturi, Policy and Government Partnerships at Bounce

Recent trends in micro-mobility (small, lightweight vehicles) and shared mobility have seen an uptick, with several start-ups opting for rapid electrification of their vehicle fleets. The motivation here is primarily in pursuit of lower costs as well as lowering environmental impacts. However, we have found that customers of these mobility start-ups are sometimes skeptical of taking up EVs, especially in the initial stages of adoption.

One of the major reasons contributing to this apparent aversiveness are the many myths that surround the electric vehicle user experience. This article unpacks these myths, giving real examples from Bounce Share.

Myth 1: Electrified shared mobility will lead to unsatisfactory customer experiences.

In the earlier models of EVs, there were some apprehensions about their overall performance around aspects of speed, power, range, etc. However, today’s new-age electric vehicles are adequately powered and can achieve speeds similar to ICE vehicles, which does not necessitate any change in a consumer's behavior.

In fact, the EV transition has provided the perfect hotbed for OEMs and mobility service providers to integrate the right technology into vehicles. AI and IoT have played a crucial role in enhancing EV user experience. Today, the state of the battery is continuously monitored accurately, thereby providing the ability to alert the consumer on a real-time basis to estimate the available range. GPS locators on the vehicle can allow the user to locate the vehicle easily and drop the scooter at any parking space.

Shared mobility platforms are best placed to provide consumers with the first-hand experience of EVs and instill the right confidence in their mindsets. Research shows that a short 3-5 minute ride in an EV can result in a significant, positive shift in people's stated EV purchase intent. Thus, as more shared mobility players join the EV revolution, we can expect a greater share of individual vehicle buyers to opt for EVs as well.

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Myth 2: Electrified mobility would lead to range anxiety for customers on shared mobility platforms

A majority of our daily commute is under 20 kilometres. According to the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) drawn up by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, the average daily run of a two-wheeler in Bengaluru is only 8 km, whereas e-bikes in India run approximately 70 km/charge. Range anxiety thus will not be an issue for the majority of daily commuters.

With innovative solutions such as Distributed Battery Swapping & charging infrastructure, the range a commuter can be served has been consistently improving. Moreover, customers can also check the estimated available range on the electric vehicle even before booking a scooter on mobility platforms like Bounce and others, completely taking away any concerns around trip completion.

Myth 3: Increase in electric shared mobility will lead to congestion

Shared mobility leads to better asset utilization and improved connectivity. Each shared mobility scooter can remove 4-7 private vehicles on roads. NITI Aayog’s report on shared mobility published in 2018 stated that shared mobility will significantly reduce congestion.

Reducing the number of vehicles on the road has the potential to reduce congestion, which in turn can save time, fuel, and money due to fewer vehicle kilometres travelled.  According to IPCC Report transportation sector contributes to 23% of CO2 emissions globally – switching to shared, connected, electric vehicles can contribute to a significant reduction in emissions. This, in turn, would lead to cleaner and greener cities, making users contribute as green agents as well. Additionally, electric vehicles are mostly silent and can greatly reduce urban noise pollution resulting in better user experience.

Each shared mobility scooter can remove 4-7 private vehicles on roads

What next?

study done by BCG on Indian cities highlighted that shared mobility services had the potential to reduce private vehicle usage by 33–68% and congestion by 17–31%, and this reduction could be translated to saving around 760–22,000 acres of land of parking space in each city. This overall reduction in vehicle and land use through shared mobility, coupled with the electrification of mobility fleets, has the potential to go a long way in cleaning urban air and optimally utilizing city infrastructure.

Shared mobility operators are poised to be the catalyst in accelerating the adoption of EVs in India, in large numbers, and in the desired timelines. More importantly, this would mean greater access to transport to millions commuting within and to-and-from cities, thereby meeting twin goals of clean transport options and increased access to economic opportunities in India.

Read the previous opinion on answers to popular myths around EV Policy by Charu Lata, Lead Consultant – Electric Mobility, NRDC India.

This article was originally published in ET Energy World.