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Old 27th September 2019, 07:12   #1
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Default Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

I've now driven 5 electric cars, of which 3 were in the last 2 months itself (E2O, Leaf, Tesla Model 3, Audi E-Tron, Hyundai Kona). The purpose of this thread is to clear doubts that BHPians would have. I'm putting things in plain & casual language, just as two friends would be talking to each other after driving EVs. Am sure you are just as curious as I was before driving these electric cars.

Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-20190809-09.56.41.jpg

The automotive world is on the cusp of EVs. As a diehard petrol-head, I was as inquisitive about EVs as I am about the change they'll bring to the driving landscape. Well, after putting a cumulative 1000 km on them, I now welcome them . I wouldn't say that I'm a convert, but I am definitely convinced. While I wouldn't own an EV as the only car in the house, I am totally okay with adding an electric car as the 2nd car of the house. In fact, I'll go ahead and put it on record that my ideal garage will have 1 turbo-diesel, 1 petrol and 1 EV.

Last edited by Aditya : 27th September 2019 at 10:02.
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:12   #2
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Default Re: Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

What I like about EVs:

• Instant torque delivery, brutal acceleration & supercar-like midrange (in the top spec Teslas)
• Regenerative braking. Charges battery & feels just like engine braking!
• Butter-smooth driving experience
• Refinement levels due to no engine sound
• Zero tailpipe emissions will lead to less polluted cities
• C-h-e-a-p fuel cost of merely ~1 buck a km
• Superior packaging possibilities (cabin & cargo space)
• Am ready to welcome an EV as the 2nd or 3rd car of my house
• No range anxiety in the city

What I dislike about EVs:

• No downshifting pleasure. No gears. No manual gearbox. Period
• Absence of that special "mechanical feel" & purity
• No aural pleasure from an engine revving sweetly, no free-flow exhausts, no turbo whistles
• Dead / numb steerings in all the EVs I drove
• Numb / wooden / mushy brake pedals
• They're currently overpriced
• Battery packs make them heavy!
• An EV can't be my primary car yet
• Range anxiety on the highway

Last edited by GTO : 27th September 2019 at 07:19.
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:12   #3
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So, are they fun to drive?

ICE-powered cars & electric cars offer different kinds of fun. It's like comparing Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Al Pacino's Scarface. Or Mumbai's street pav bhaji & Yauatcha's dumplings. Both are extremely different, yet both are extremely enjoyable.

It also depends on the car & kind of road. I had an absolute blast in the F-A-S-T Model 3 dual-motor. On the other hand, the Audi E-Tron was a cruiser that's good at luxury, but not fun to drive at all. What about the Kona? Well, it's more fun than an i20, but not a similarly-priced Jeep Compass on the open road. Just like we see in ICE (internal combustion engine) cars, in EVs too, there will be fun to drive cars as well as boring cars.

Elaborating some more on the fun-to-drive aspect that is so important to us BHPians. If you buy a powerful EV, you'll have fun on your daily commute for sure, thanks to the instant & additive torque (it's M-A-D in powerful EVs...will blow your mind), as well as the regenerative braking (engine-braking fans like me will love this). Powerful EVs like the higher-end Teslas accelerate so hard that you are pinned to your seat (0 - 100 under 3 seconds). And the mid-range is relentless!!! I have experienced that kind of punch only in supercars, ///Ms & AMGs. On the other hand, on my favourite mountain road, there is no way an EV will ever come close to a nice mechanical car with a conventional ICE engine and its redlining + downshifting + sounds + mechanical feel etc. If I intend to fly down the 1-way Igatpuri ghat, give me a petrol / diesel over an EV any day. Period.

While I had the Tesla, I'd rented the Cayman for a day and oh boy, it was more fun to drive (despite being slower than the Tesla). I drove the Audi E-Tron and a Corvette within days of each other, and the Vette felt far much more amazing in terms of feel.

Summary = Fast EVs can be as much fun in the city & during calm cruising on expressways. But there is no contest on highways, mountain roads & race tracks. Things might change - who knows? Even Porsche is betting on it with the recently introduced 750-horsepower Taycan (more info). Of course, just like regular cars, not all EVs will be fun to drive. A majority will be tuned for economy & commuting.

Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-image00003.jpg

Did you miss the exhaust, engine & mechanical sounds?

Absolutely yes when driving hard, not at all when cruising or in the city. EVs are way too silent for the enthusiast (mass market will prefer the silence though). Expect performance cars to come out with fake sounds to compensate.

Must add that, because there is absolutely no engine noise in EVs, other noises are more noticeable (e.g. road or tyre noise).

Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-image00001.jpg

Did you suffer range anxiety in the city?

Range anxiety is overrated. For one, 95% of Indians commute less than 60 km a day and this distance is easily covered even by the basic E2O. The more accomplished EVs today offer a driving range of 250 - 500 km which is enough for everyone, unless you do Bombay-Goa every day.

Battery tech is fast progressing. In 3 to 4 years, we'll see EVs offering 750 - 1000 km ranges. In fact, I foresee manufacturers selling different battery capacities on the same model, with many customers choosing the lower capacity battery of say a ~400 km range at a lesser price, as they don't need the 1000 km capacity.

BTW, "kitna deti hai" is ingrained in Indian DNA (related video). Everywhere I drove the Kona, the first question asked by the public was inevitably "what is the range on a full charge"?

Did you suffer range anxiety on the highway?

Yes, it's a very valid point, especially in India where there are no public charging facilities & the power supply in rural areas suffers frequent outages.

The highway FE of normal ICE cars is 50 – 100% more than the city FE. With EVs - believe it or not - the range is more or less the same as the city. If you constantly cruise at 120 kmph, the range can actually be lower than the city! Reason = the nature of electric power, physics, no regen braking, single gear drivetrain etc. This point *might* change though as some manufacturers are planning EVs with 2 or more gears (Porsche Taycan already has two ratios at the rear). And I mention again, 1000 km batteries are coming which will make this highway-range point irrelevant in 5 years.

See this Tesla chart (source) and how drastically the range drops as you move from 90 to 120 kmph:
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Here's a real-world example. At the time of starting my highway trip, the Kona told me I'm good for 304 km:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-20190921-07.09.18.jpg

Drove on empty Mumbai roads in the early morning (~35 km) and an arrow-straight expressway (~35 km) in a mix of "eco" & "comfort" modes, cruising at 100 kmph. Not engaged "sport" yet. Despite driving just 70 km on empty roads, the range dropped by 96 km! In a petrol or diesel car, the FE would have increased by 50 - 100% for these exact driving conditions:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-20190921-08.33.05.jpg

Round-trip range (70% highway, 30% city) of ~280 km is almost the same as 100% city driving. This was a mix of eco + comfort + sport modes, as well as easy cruising + hard cornering + calm driving + short high speed bursts (in short, the perfect Indian mix):
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-range.jpg

EVs will require more planning, right?

You bet. Biggest difference is that you can't be careless. Unlike a petrol or diesel car that you can top up anywhere in India - even a village - in 5 minutes or less, you can't do the same with an EV. You'll need to be more particular. Personally, I would simply ensure that I never let the charge of my electric car go below 25% in the city (I do the same with my petrol / diesel tanks). You can’t simply forget to charge the car and then decide to go to the other end of town in the morning. For highway runs, you'll have to do a lot of calculations & ensure there's a reliable power socket at the destination.

How do I charge, dude?

That's a fantastic question, because 90% of India parks on the street. Where the heck are they going to charge their EVs? If you don't have a parking spot in your building + the possibility of a charging socket added to it, then an EV is not for you. Period. This will change in the future with higher capacity batteries, charging becoming common-place in parking spots (public + corporate + malls + street parking etc.) and battery swapping tech.

As for me, I'm getting a charging point installed in my building soon. Reason = all the test-drive cars that are headed our way. The cost of installing a power socket isn't expensive at all (three-phase power is recommended), but yes, you need the availability of a connection. If you live in a society, there would be permissions to procure which you may or may not get.

Charging the Kona in my building, via a socket in my garage. Soon, I'm going to get a proper charger installed as I expect several EV media cars in the next 1 - 2 years. Manufacturers are offering the media free charger installations, but Team-BHP isn't one to take such freebies from anyone:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-10.jpg

Was it convenient to charge?

Hell, yeah! When you sleep, you charge. Most of us already follow this practice for our mobile phones. I don't know about you, but I sleep for a solid 7 - 8 hours and that's good enough to charge any EV. At my friend's place in Boston, we used to charge the Tesla overnight once in 5 days or so. In terms of convenience & simplicity, it scores over a trip to the petrol pump for sure.

Right now, I'm saying "if you sleep, you charge". In 5 - 10 years, it'll equally be pertinent to say "if you park, you charge". I saw this happening in the USA and it'll happen in India too. EV chargers will be everywhere = highway food courts, shopping malls, office parking spots, residential parking complexes, public parking lots etc.

Can the EV be the only car of the house?

Not for me, no. India has zero charging infrastructure and I love my highway road-trips way too much. Unless you buy a high performance EV, they aren't as fun to drive as the enthusiast cars either. Plus, I'm worried about niggles & issues in the early batches of cars. Most brands' initial rounds of EVs will come laden with problems. It's a new world for them & you will be their guinea pig.

That said, I am ready to welcome an EV as the 2nd or 3rd car of the house today, if the need for a city commuter arises. It'll be the perfect replacement for my Sunny.

I love my high-revving and gear-shifting way too much. It could be different for someone who intends to drive only in the city + has a parking spot with a power socket.

Why are they so expensive?

It's typical of any new game-changing technology. Check out the prices of early mobile phones & calling charges in the 1990s! With time, EVs will become as cheap as conventionally-powered cars. Eventually, I reckon they'll become cheaper as these are basically simpler machines. The way China is investing in electric cars, I expect them to become the world's supplier of EV components (wish India thought in such a strategic & long-term manner).

In my opinion, this top-down strategy works for EVs. Models like the Tesla, Kona, E-Tron etc. might be super expensive, but they are top-class products that prove electric cars can be fast, efficient & practical. On the other hand, the bottom-up strategy won't work as the cheaper segments are full of rubbish EVs. If you ask me frankly, depressing EVs like the Reva, e-Verito, Tigor EV etc. give EVs a bad name in India - related thread. These horrible cars kill the reputation of EVs!

Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-5.jpg

Are they cheap to run?

Not only are they cheap, but they are C-H-E-A-P. Based on current electricity rates, the running cost works out to a paltry 0.8 - 1.1 rupees / km. I did Mumbai – Pawna – Mumbai in just 220 bucks. The cost is so insignificant that it'll be a rounding off error for most households. Heck, I paid more in tolls than I did for the electric charge.

The ultimate anti-oil machine. No petrol pumps needed, and unmatched cost of running:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-11.jpg

What about maintenance costs?

Scheduled services will be super short & cheap as there's hardly anything to do! No oil changes, no filters, no spark plugs, far less mechanical parts and software updates which are delivered over-the-air. Guess just wheel balancing, some greasing and that kind of stuff.

For the typical car owner who changes his rides every 5 years, EVs might be cheaper to maintain. Don't know about the long-term though. Some batteries will be of good quality (many Teslas are doing 7+ years on the original battery), while some might fail prematurely (some Reva owners were hit with a Rs 60k battery bill after 3 years). Long battery warranties are becoming commonplace in the EV world - Hyundai is offering an 8 year warranty on the Kona's battery. Nevertheless, if you own an 8 – 10 year old EV, you should be prepared to get a new battery.

Also remember that, as batteries age, their range & performance will drop.

Lastly, because this technology is brand new, I expect a lot of 1st-gen EVs from manufacturers to have niggles & problems. Be sure to take the longest extended warranty possible. ICE engine'd cars have been around for a century, but Tata & Mahindra still can't build them reliably (our demo Harrier & XUV300 had problems). Shudder to think what their initial lot of EVs will be like.

What about performance at the top-end?

Based on what I hear, they start losing steam after 130 - 160 kmph (depending on the EV), as compared to powerful ICE cars that keep on accelerating. If you're going to drive it on the Buddh track, this is something you should check on. Some guys on USA forums were comparing track notes on the Model S vs Supercars and apparently, the Supercars had far superior top-ends.

Closer to home, the Kona maxed out @ 162 kmph (indicated) on our track day @ Buddh.

So, just how environment-friendly are EVs actually?

The jury is still out on that, simply because 75% of India's electricity is generated from polluting coal plants. That said, there is absolutely no doubt that EVs will lead to cleaner urban cities (last I checked, there were no coal plants in proper Bombay / Delhi / Bangalore etc.). I think of it as garbage = instead of having the trash (pollution) all around my house (or city), I'd rather relegate it to one corner of my house (or country) in a trash can.

Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-image00002.jpg

Can I modify it?

Typical BHPian question . Yes, absolutely. If anything, modifications for more power will be super easy as EVs depend a lot more on software (here's a nice article on a 500+ BHP Tesla). Further, just like smartphones & computers, EV builds will eventually become very customisable, even from the factory. You'll be able to pick different capacity motors, batteries, controllers, driving modes, single / dual / more motors, software add-ons etc. for the same model. Tesla is already doing a lot of this.

I also feel there will be "commoditization" of the crucial components, similar to how SSDs, RAM & CPUs are in computers. You'll be able to tweak & swap as needed. An 8-lakh rupee hatchback that can do 0 - 100 in 6 seconds will be far easier in the electric world, than the ICE world. Performance will become cheap & easily accessible in the world of electric cars (akin to Oppo phones today).

What do passengers & family members think of EVs?

Make no mistake, EVs are going mainstream. Other than the silence & lack of engine noise, my family thought that the Kona is just like a regular car. Of course, when something is new, it's natural to have a fear of the unknown. Mom asked me whether it’s "safe" to take on the highway. And everyone unfailingly asked “how many km on a charge? Will we reach Pawna?”.

EVs wear green plates which I think is a BRILLIANT move by the government (related thread). These green plates have a certain snob appeal and come with bragging rights. The plates are very distinct & turned heads everywhere. Even in a small village like Pawna, these dudes in a Scorpio stopped to ask about the electric car:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-12.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 29th September 2019 at 08:11.
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:12   #4
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Regenerative Braking

Other than the instant & powerful torque delivery, what I loved most about the EV driving experience was the regen braking. Hence, a post dedicated to it. Lift your foot off the accelerator & the electric car starts decelerating (just like engine braking in ICE cars). But what is regen braking? It's basically using the (kinetic) energy otherwise wasted in braking, to charge the battery. More information here & here.

• Regen braking feels just like "engine braking". In regular cars, I LOVE engine braking; downshifting when approaching a traffic light or a corner has become second nature to me. In EVs, not only do you get very strong regenerative braking & deceleration, some cars allow you to set the level of regen (e.g. Kona has 3 selectable levels).

• As good as the regenerative braking (aka engine braking) is though, it's not as absolutely predictable + progressive as it is in traditional petrol / diesel cars where you can control the engine braking precisely to the last %. I felt this the most during hard cornering (my driving style depends a lot on engine braking).

• Further to the previous point, the braking feel is numb in almost all EVs. None of them had a "pure" brake pedal with lots of feel. Instead, it was universally numb or mushy or wooden.

• There is so much regen to be had that manufacturers actually let you adjust the level of regenerative braking (via the tablet screen in the Tesla & left paddle shifter in the Kona). The way that I set it is, keep the regen on "heavy" in the city (where braking & stopping are frequent) and lower on the open highway (where braking & stopping are infrequent, and coasting is required).

• You can literally drive with 1 pedal! I set the Tesla's regen braking to heavy and then compared how much I was using the brake pedal vs the GLE-Class on the same roads. Result? I was pressing the Tesla's brake pedal just 1/3rd of the time that I was with the Mercedes. In some EVs, you can even come to a complete stop by long-pulling the left paddle shifter (Kona offers this too).

As you brake, the display tells you how much driving range you just gained via regen braking (+0.37 km in this image):
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-20190921-12.04.12.jpg

Absolutely loved the powerful regen braking in the dual-motor Model 3. It suits my driving style, which is inclined toward engine braking:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-3.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 27th September 2019 at 07:15.
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:12   #5
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The Smaller yet Significant Things

• In terms of driving pleasure, the Cayman was a 10 / 10. But I will add, the first time I floored the Cayman, my brain asked "where is the punch???". The Tesla's instant torque delivery had spoiled me.

• Manufacturers are embracing EVs because zero-emission electric cars make it easier for them to meet ever stringent CAFE norms. Some have already sold EVs at a loss just to meet the CAFE numbers (related article where Sergio says "don't buy my EV").

• All the electric cars I drove had boring steering wheels. None of them even came close to the mechanical purity of my benchmark steerings in terms of feel or feedback.

• Millennials & Generation Z are a lot more "environmentally conscious" than our generation was. The green nature of EVs appeals to this generation a lot more.

• An electric car designed from the ground up will always be superior to a regular ICE car converted to electric power.

• Maruti saw EVs coming and got damn scared of the future because it didn't have the money, talent or resources to make the jump to the electric world. Like a father & his daughter, Suzuki took Maruti to Toyota with a wedding proposal. Make no mistake, Toyota has ensured Maruti's future in a continually changing world. We'll be seeing a lot of Toyota technology in Maruti's EVs.

• EVs already look a bit different, and they will become even more so with time. For now, whether or not you like the grill-less look is entirely a personal choice.

• The battery packs make electric cars H-E-A-V-Y. E.g. the Kona weighs ~1500 kilos (similarly sized petrol cars are ~400 kilos lighter). On the flip side, EVs have a low center of gravity due to the battery pack on the floorboard. Lower center of gravity = superior handling.

EVs corner well, but their weight is felt. Kona didn't feel as agile or nimble as similarly-sized hatchbacks & crossovers. Tesla did a better job of concealing its weight & flew like a rocket. Some EVs get rubbish eco-oriented tyres though (like this Kona). Based on how I was cornering & flying on the Lonavala ghat, I’m pretty sure I gave a boost to the reputation of EVs in that zip code!
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-14.jpg

• The Nürburgring wars have already begun between ICE & electric cars - Tesla vs Porsche thread. Both have giant egos at play!

• Just like your laptop, tablet & smartphone, all EVs are sold with a portable charger that you can carry along in the trunk. However, do keep in mind that these take a lot longer to charge than the high capacity chargers. Example: Hyundai's installed home charger will take the battery from empty to 100% in about 6 hours; however, the portable charger takes a whopping 19 hours!

• Electric power might be well suited to offroaders. Max torque at zero rpm, no pollution, no noise that disturbs wildlife, no worry of water ingress damaging the engine and awesome all-wheel drive.

• Many manufacturers are expected to come with one motor for each individual wheel. This will help the performance of sports cars & offroaders alike.

• Because of lesser mechanical components, electric cars offer superior interior packaging & space management. You can count on more cabin space for passengers.

• Further to the previous point, storage capacity is higher as well. Example, the Tesla even has a 2nd boot in the front. They are now called "frunks" aka front trunks (image source).
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-frunk.jpg

• The Audi E-Tron felt like a proper luxury car, directly comparable to any luxury SUV in the market. Great cabin as well. Lots of tech for the geeks and top-class refinement. Believe it or not, the E-Tron actually makes artificial sounds for pedestrian safety.

Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-9.jpg

• The biggest disappointment with the Model 3 was its interior. I could spot some quality and fit / finish issues. Plus, it was plain to the point of boring. I understand minimalist designs and all, but they're not for me. I like my interiors loaded!

• Super cool! I didn't even need a key to drive the Tesla. An app on the smartphone works just fine to unlock & drive away. I didn't find its recessed door handles to be easy to use though.

• With big screens & tablets coming to the interiors of EVs, car manufacturers will have to learn finesse in UI & UX design. The Tesla tablet's interface was easily comparable to the best that Android & iOS have to offer. It was top-class. I expect a majority of car manufacturers to suffer here as they just don't have that UI & UX mindset or talent. Tesla could, because it has a silicon valley culture.

• Cooling is more or less mandatory for EV batteries. Nissan skipped it on the Leaf, and owners just couldn't stop ranting on how its range tanked on hot days. The Hyundai Kona offers cooling as well as heating for its battery pack (depending on the market).

• Audiophiles like Moderator Navin will be pleased with EVs. Reason = no mechanical sounds. They can achieve higher SQ purity in electric cars. Things can get eerily silent inside, even when cruising at 100 kmph.

• There is no such thing as "lag" in an electric car. The torque is INSTANT! This is unlike conventional cars where manufacturers have to work hard to extract low-rpm response (problem areas can be an engine with a weak bottom end, turbo lag, transmission lag, gearing etc.).

• EVs are going to lower the barrier to entry & there are some interesting startups already. One such brand which has generated a lot of hype is Rivian; they're coming out with quite an innovative pick-up truck.

• While almost all EVs have single-speed transmissions, a few car makers are experimenting with multiple gears. The 750 horsepower Porsche Taycan has a two-speed gearbox at the back to improve highway driving range.

• The chargers are usually "locked" and no mischievous fellow can remove it from your car. However, pranksters could switch the button on the wall power socket off . Get a waterproof lockbox made for your charger.

• EVs just aren't suited to Indian highways yet. Not only is the range a limitation, but the frequent power cuts in rural India are too. Leave aside rural India, even a modern city like Pune suffers frequent power cuts. Didn't stop me though
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-13.jpg

• EVs could make for competent chauffeur-driven vehicles (or Uber / Ola cabs) because of the superior space packaging + excellent refinement levels. But the driver will need to adopt a smooth driving style, else the frequent pushback from that "instant torque" can make people sick. Chauffeur-driven bosses should also dial down / disable the regen-braking, else it'll lead to a jerky drive.

• I have become convinced that it doesn't have to be either / or. In India, EVs can happily co-exist with combustion engines. At least, in our lifetime!

• You see a LOT of green cars on the west coast in USA. Oh man, beautiful California. Cruising in an E-Tron through CA was a different kind of kick:
Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head-ev-thread-7.jpg

Thank this car for making EVs cool, sexy & relevant again. Tesla played its part in forcing the entire auto industry to take EVs seriously:


Kids totally love the gizmos & games onboard:

Last edited by Aditya : 27th September 2019 at 10:19.
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:25   #6
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene!
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:46   #7
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Such an amazing thread. It has actually answered a few questions that I had in mind about EV's. I think at the current rate, India will require at least 5-7 years before the infrastructure sets in, or at least half of it. Its actually a strange feeling, the mind knows that EV's are the future, but I guess in our hearts we will always be Petrol-heads.
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Old 27th September 2019, 07:55   #8
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EVs are the future, but I'm just not ready for them yet. I'm more of an analogue guy, whereas EVs are full of the highest level of technology. I don't need a screen as my instrument cluster, just give me two damn analogue dials any day! I'm terrified of electricals going wrong in cars since they are not as easily repairable as mechanical parts. I can think of EVs some day, maybe when I have a large garage/working space in my house to tackle anything that goes wrong, myself.

I think this is just a problem with my mindset and won't affect the majority. I don't even support stuff like keyless go for that matter. If anything, they add to the complexity in our cars. I'm proud to drive a car that is fully analogue: I open the door with a key, adjust my mirrors manually by stretching my body across the entire cabin, look around to ensure that all passengers are wearing seatbelts, start the car with a key, look at the fuel gauge to determine how much fuel is left, press those exact two buttons on the HU to make sure that my favourite songs start playing, manually wind the window down to listen to the exhaust note, manually slot the gearstick into first, take those corners accurately with my manual steering and accelerate into the horizon (with all of ~55bhp). Despite the stupid scrappage policy that's going to come into effect soon, I'm keeping her as long as I can. Just like I'm still using a BlackBerry keypad phone as my primary, almost a decade after touchscreen phones became the norm

In the (distant) future though, I can see an EV sharing space with an ICE powered car in my garage. Maybe for my parents or maybe because I'll be finally warming up to them. Never as my primary car, though. Just like I also use an Android device now, but as my secondary phone

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Old 27th September 2019, 09:49   #9
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Loved every bit of it! And most importantly, the spread from a realistic affordable one like e2O to the sci-fi ones at the other end of the spectrum. Every little detail as always.

Love it when you say EVs are coming mainstream. Thats so reassuring indeed - for the generations to come we really need this planet to be habitable. (At the same time, I'm glad we were born in the generation we were. Got to experience the real evolution & peaks of combustion engine technologies hands on. From carburetors to state of the art direct injectors. From laughable cylinder compression ratios to unbelievable scary numbers!

Thanks a million for the sweet thread GTO! A 5 starer this one!
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Old 27th September 2019, 10:02   #10
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Superb! As usual, amazing and in-depth information. After reading this article, I'm inclined to drive Tesla Model 3 in my planned USA trip next year. As usual in our country, EV technology will be far behind compared to Western Countries and China. However, I do hope to drive a good EV SUV/Sedan after 10 years or so in India.
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Old 27th September 2019, 10:22   #11
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Default Re: Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
So, just how environment-friendly are EVs actually?

The jury is still out on that, simply because 75% of India's electricity is generated from polluting coal plants. That said, there is absolutely no doubt that EVs will lead to cleaner urban cities (last I checked, there were no coal plants in proper Bombay / Delhi / Bangalore etc.). I think of it as garbage = instead of having the trash (pollution) all around my house (or city), I'd rather relegate it to one corner of my house (or country) in a trash can.
You missed an important point here - We can ignore the coal powered plants for now.

BUT -- EV's currently run on Lithium Ion batteries, which require Lithium and Cobalt. Both of which are finite and Cobalt even more so. Mining for these is not an easy task and can lead to Water Pollution and Forest Depletion. A majority of the Cobalt comes in from the Congo region with little or no control on the mining, as demand increases so will the price. In short - Cobalt availability may throttle the EV rise or/and lead to increase in battery prices.

The next issue is recycling the batteries - Currently the Lithium which becomes a by-product cannot be recycled. So it lands up in land fills or in the ocean (In double/tripled layered containers, so there is a slim chance of leakage). We cant keep creating land fills.

Here's something I read --
The lack of recycling capacity is “a tragedy”, says Amrit Chandan, a chemical engineer leading business development at Aceleron, a hi-tech British startup looking to transform end of life batteries. “It takes so much energy to extract these materials from the ground. If we don’t re-use them we could be making our environmental problems worse,” he says.

Basically at the moment, its said that only 5% of lithium Ion batteries are recycled at a rate of 1 Euro + in which only 1/3 of the product is recyclable.

Now comes the difficult part - I still think EV's are the right direction and I would indeed buy one, but we have a long way to go in terms of dealing with the tech!
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Old 27th September 2019, 10:30   #12
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Default Re: Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

Thanks GTO for the nice post.

Just last week I was in Austria for a week and I rode electric taxis from Hyundai. I did not like it at all. Firstly, I had expected the ride to be very quiet, given that most of European cars (even diesels) are extremely quiet. However, the electric Hyundai was very noisy with lots of road noise and wind noise. I felt the noise was far more than the Volkswagon taxis that I rode. Secondly, the interior of the car was pathetic. In India, the Hyundai interior is far better than the Volkswagon interior. However, in Europe, the Volkswagon beats the Hyndai by a mile. It should be noted that my dislike is not really a dislike of the electric cars in general, but the Hyundai model electric car which had pathetic quality.
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Old 27th September 2019, 10:38   #13
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Default Re: Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

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Originally Posted by Samir Taheer View Post
You missed an important point here - We can ignore the coal powered plants for now.

BUT -- EV's currently run on Lithium Ion batteries, which require Lithium and Cobalt. Both of which are finite and Cobalt even more so. Mining for these is not an easy task and can lead to Water Pollution and Forest Depletion. A majority of the Cobalt comes in from the Congo region with little or no control on the mining, as demand increases so will the price. In short - Cobalt availability may throttle the EV rise or/and lead to increase in battery prices.

The next issue is recycling the batteries - Currently the Lithium which becomes a by-product cannot be recycled. So it lands up in land fills or in the ocean (In double/tripled layered containers, so there is a slim chance of leakage). We cant keep creating land fills.

Here's something I read --
The lack of recycling capacity is “a tragedy”, says Amrit Chandan, a chemical engineer leading business development at Aceleron, a hi-tech British startup looking to transform end of life batteries. “It takes so much energy to extract these materials from the ground. If we don’t re-use them we could be making our environmental problems worse,” he says.

Basically at the moment, its said that only 5% of lithium Ion batteries are recycled at a rate of 1 Euro + in which only 1/3 of the product is recyclable.

Now comes the difficult part - I still think EV's are the right direction and I would indeed buy one, but we have a long way to go in terms of dealing with the tech!
+1 to the above post. While we celebrate the heralding of new era. Its not a cure all remedy. The city air pollution would go down but the electricity would still be dirty. However, in the absence of any other viable alternative, we can only pray that people don't abandon their used batteries on the road side and there is a clear accountability of the used shells. Its must be like LPG cylinder. You book a new battery for exchange of old one and the used one needs to be properly discarded/ recycled.

I saw a documentary where they showed how used car tyres in germany and france were sent to places like romania to be burnt.
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Old 27th September 2019, 10:48   #14
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Default Re: Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

Awesome to read about electric cars. Thanks GTO !

When I was in USA, my colleague had a Tesla. I don't remember the model but it was a used and bought from Tesla as pre-certified. It was a model without auto pilot and costed around 45 or 50 K. When I was with him in the passenger seat, I was awestruck by its instant pickup, no engine sound, the big screen and lot of features. Everyday to the office in Stamford, Connecticut he travels from New Jersey in Tesla and says its very cost effective when compared with a normal petrol car. He charges over night at home for round trip and charging point also is available at office.

When he was planning to do a trip to Orlando, Florida from New Jersey, I was quite surprised that he will take an all electric car for a 1000+ miles and a travel duration of more than 15 hrs. He patiently explained me the plan. You feed your destination on the maps in big screen in Tesla and it will plan everything for you - how much time to travel, where to stop, how much duration to stop, where are the stops for turbo/super charges, where are the stops for normal charges, etc.

Since the car can accommodate in boot and under the bonnet as well, he did this trip with his family - wife, one 4 year old kid and one 6 months old kid. His Tesla gobbled up 2 strollers, lots of luggage. As GTO mentioned, one has to be planned for a long drive, be patient to stop for charging in between. My colleague utilized the time for charging his car to feed the kids and for refreshments. Since it was in USA, long drives can be done in an all electric car because of availability of charging points.
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Old 27th September 2019, 11:06   #15
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Default Re: Electric Cars...through the eyes of a diehard petrol-head

3 years ago, I bought the S-Cross 1.6. When I bought that car, my toddler son (who was a bit traumatised by the fact that we had to sell off the Figo) extracted a promise from me that I would keep this car till he finished his 10th standard. By that time, the car will be 11 years old.

I know myself. An upgrade itch will come in a couple of years for sure. To keep my promise to my son, I will remap, modify, etc to keep the car fresh and cure the itch.

Having said that, I have this feeling in the back of my mind that this car will probably be the last car I will own which has an internal combustion engine. The next car I buy will, in all probability, be an electric one. Regulation and legislation is already on its way to make the ownership of an ICE car an expensive proposition beyond the 15-year mark, and I know deep down that the S-Cross is no future classic.

But for me to buy an electric car, there are a couple of conditions that will need to be fulfilled:
1. Battery recycling facility - I need to be convinced that the battery can and will be recycled after its lifetime is over.
2. Reliable charging infrastructure - if this is even half as convenient/widely available as the fuel stations we have today, I will bite.

I enjoyed reading this opinion piece, GTO! It helped pull together a lot of scattered thoughts of my own on this subject.
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