Why is the Indian electric car market not more prominent?

When you bear in mind the number of people living in India it is surprising that some of the more prominent electric car producers have not targeted this area of the world. Is it too soon for the Indian electric car market? Is the spread of wealth not sufficient to sustain the likes of Tesla?

Why do you think the Indian electric car market is being ignored by the international majors?


Grew 37%



I was just wondering why we don’t sell headlines like “Tesla targets Indian EV market”. The country ever seems to get a mention from the main EV producers?

Interested to see this development today:-

Nitin Gadkari visits Tesla Motors, invites proposals for entry into India market - Firstpost

At first blush one might think India is a huge market, having over 1.3 billlllllllion people and all, but when you get past the sheer enormity of their population you’re soon faced with the fact that their per capita GDP is 1/10th of ours and somewhere around 35% or 40% of China’s.

They just don’t have the disposable income to be able to afford what are still expensive vehicles. After all, more families all ride on a moped together than ride in cars. Think back to when Tata announced the Nano and that it’s goal was to offer a car that would hall 4 or 5 people for roughly $2K.

Don’t forget that that $2K Tata represents 45% to 50% of the average Indian’s annual income.

Not to mention that the number of people that earn $15,000 per year or more represents 0.091% or 1.2 million people…


There is hope though as wealth and disposable income figures are growing across India. As the economy grows we should see EVs become affordable to more people. Perhaps that is when the EV market in India will take off?

Being the pragmatist I am, I think that for most of the folks in India, the anticipation of driving an EV is probably pretty low on their list.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here, but one really needs to look at the facts on the true state of their country.

Over 300,000,000 (three hundred million) people do not have access to electricity in India. That’s basically the entire population of our country, U.S.A., without access to electricity! Not to mention the fact that many of those that do have power have unreliable service.

If memory serves, there was a blackout back in 2012 or so that put half of their country in the dark with 20 out of 28 states without power.

Although India has a pretty extensive road network, some 3.4 million miles or so, it only has around 60% of them paved, leaving much of the country with roads that are very difficult to travel during the monsoon season.

But, pragmatically speaking, India’s problems are much greater than their infrastructure shortcomings.

Of the developed countries in the world, the water problem in India is worse than most others.

As many as 100 million Indian’s are forced to pay high prices for waters from water sellers or drink contaminated water, often with chemicals and sewage traces, all because they don’t have unfettered access to clean water.

India also has over 190 million people that are malnourished.

Over 2/3rds of the inhabitants of India still cook over open flame, the majority of these use cow dung. The indoor air pollution is a real problem there, not to mention the unsanitary cooking conditions.

These reasons, and numerous others, would compel me, if I were the average Indian, to strive for many many other things before I truly aspired for an Electric Car.

So, although you and I are interested in the increased production and consumption of EV’s, albeit quite possibly for different reasons, the hopes that India could be a “game changer” in the EV industry, other than possibly Tata manufacturing a ton of their Pixel and MegaPixel cars and selling em here en masse, are probably just that… Hopes.

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A short answer to this question is this: Indians are for hire to the highest bidder. And India is not the highest bidder for this product or for the professionals who would take this on.

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What is needed to change this situation? Continued growth of the Indian economy and a more balanced spread of wealth across the population?

Ok Clean e,

I’ll bite.

How do you propose this happens?

India has over 1.3 BILLION people and is growing by almost 1 person per second every day.

It is an incredibly complex country with diverse cultures and disparate religions. The political partisanship climate there is every bit as frustrating as it is here.

Don’t forget about the crap Tata Group, Indias largest auto concern and employer of over 660,000, went through in 08 or 09…

They had to move the $300 million Nano plant from the Bengal region all the way across the country all because of political posturing, riots and utter chaos. The end result was a cost of hundreds of millions of $$ out of Tata’s pocket and thousands of jobs lost in the Bengal region.


How do you ensure that their economy continues to grow?

More importantly, how do you accomplish “a more balanced spread of wealth across the population” without the assurance of good paying jobs, not simply taking money from one group and handing it to another?

I’m not trying to bust your chops here but I don’t come to these forums looking for MSM soundbites or Miss Universe statements (you know, the … “I want to work hard at world peace, cure for cancer and to feed all the starving children across the planet” type of stuff) Not that those things wouldn’t be nice, it’s just… “How do you get it done”.

For the EV Market to truly become as ubiquitous as the internal combustion market it is going to have to get competitive. Both in capability and price.

Gubmit subsidies, though possibly helpful in the beginning, can’t last forever.

The EV’s need to offer a compelling solution for the average auto purchaser. The acquisition and operation costs must be @ or below their ICE rivals.

I-Miev’s @ over $30K or so, like they were in the beginning, were completely off the mark for mass consumption. The 2017 model for $23K is an improvement but still pricey. However, a used I-Miev for $5K or $6K will have a much broader appeal.

I truly hope Tony Seba is right and that the EV disruption truly does happen and we get to see new EV’s with 200+ mile range for under $15K by around 2020.

I just don’t see India as a major contributor to this desired outcome with any appreciable impact through their consumption of EV’s. I do, however, see them as having an opportunity to be a major contributor in the manufacturing of such vehicles.

I would love to see Tata bring their Pixel and Mega-Pixel here. Especially if they can bring it in @ under $10K, as has been conjectured.

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You make some very valid points but if the wealthier of India took up EVs this would still be a significant number?

I do understand your arguments about wealth, growing population and fractions right across India. I also agree 100% that India might be a prominent manufacturer of EVs but not necessarily a big user.

I agree that there are folks in india that could be potential EV advocates.

Quick facts…

India only has 125,000 or so that are millionaires. Of those 61 are billionaires.

The U.S. on the other hand has over 10,000,000 millionaires with 540 billionaires.

Worldwide there are around 1800 billionaires with between 14 million and 30 million millionaires. (I know, it’s a pretty big difference on total of millionaires, it depends on who’s counting)

I guess the point I’m trying to make with all of this is this…

The key to EV’s long term success is not going after the wealthy. It’s going after the middle income folk in places like the U.S. that need dependable affordable transportation. Tesla’s doin it right by creating their gigafactory. It’s already on track to produce almost 3 fold the number of batteries it was initially intending to build which could very well drop the overall costs down by 1/2 or 2/3rds. Add this to the other battery manufacturers gearing up their own version of giga factories and we’ve got ourselves a real life “economies of scale” situation that truly has the ability to get the costs of batteries (the most expensive part of our beloved EV’s)

A sub $20K car with 200+ mile range is the key for the average person.

Here’s hoping

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Maybe it will be down to good old-fashioned political influence? We only need to look at China to see how political “encouragement” can have a major impact upon EV take-up. I am often cautious of the positive stance shown by governments around the world which is not always reflected in the make-up of official government transport options.

Yup their encouragement is usually done at the end of a gun barrell. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/06/asia/china-death-penalty/

Thanks but no thanks.

I for one can not think of any cause that would warrant the use of “influence” (read: fear, pressure, penalty, etc…) from one’s government.

If you look at most of what is written in regards to the Chinese governments motivation to “promote” EV’s, it is not for the polar bears, or their carbon footprint. No, their main motivator is to reduce pollution and clean up their air. Not at all to be confused with CO2 emissions. From what I’ve read, their government has not blindly accepted the position of our EPA, and do not consider C02 as pollution.

One think to keep in mind though, as it relates to EV’s in China. Many of the numbers we’re reading, in regards to the number of EV’s sold, include such vehicles as NEV’s, LSV’s & MSV’s. Not to mention the copycat electric cars, many of which having less range than an I-Miev.

You make some fair points there and I suppose the problem with political interference is that at some point there will be a back lash from consumers. Nobody likes being told what to do!

I agree fully that they key to the success of the industry lies in the middle class. A $35K Tesla is exactly the sort of vehicle that will ensure the industries future.

@Dino1963 - Excellent points above…speechless.

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