My green number plate is my superpower!

Anamika Nandedkar
Sunday, 4 August 2019

There’s no greater feeling than driving a vehicle on the road that makes heads turn! It’s been five months since I bought an Electric Vehicle (EV) and use it daily for commuting to the workplace. My green number plate - all EVs sport a green plate - stands out in a sea of white and yellows. 

There’s no greater feeling than driving a vehicle on the road that makes heads turn! It’s been five months since I bought an Electric Vehicle (EV) and use it daily for commuting to the workplace. My green number plate - all EVs sport a green plate - stands out in a sea of white and yellows. 

“Kitna deti hai?” I get asked at traffic signals by strangers. “It runs on battery, right?” is another one.

An EV, depending on which segment two-wheeler you have bought, can travel for 40 to 140 km on a full charge. 

An EV’s battery can be 100 per cent charged in 1.5-6 hours, again depending on its make. So what you are paying for in the long run, is electricity. 

The fact that there’s no smoke coming out of it, as opposed to an internal combustion engine, is an added advantage. EV owners feel good about the fact that they are not contributing to air pollution. 

However, in reality, while buying an EV, pollution is not on the buyer’s mind; economics is. He/she is more concerned about saving money. Pune is no longer the quaint city where travelling by bike or car was easy and convenient; long distances and traffic congestions today means a person ends up spending hours on-road and a sizable part of salary on petrol. 

This forces an EV buyer to do a lot of math to check whether he is saving the money that petrol vehicles gobble up. Pollution, or not contributing to it, is secondary. 

My friend, who rides one of those fancy bikes that people often take for long rides in the hills, asked me how much my EV costs.

A little over one lakh, I told him. 

“What? You spent that insane amount on THIS?” was his response. 

The statement shocked me. 

“You ride a bike that cost you Rs 1.5 lakh and gives an average of 15kmpl. Mine runs for 630 km for the price of one-litre petrol. I think I am doing good,” was my delayed reply (because there was a bit of calculation involved). 

To be fair, Pune is embracing EVs at a good pace -- the numbers are highest in Maharashtra. Some facilities I would like to see in our city for EV riders include charging stations at prominent places, or a paid mechanism to do it at the workplace. 

If more mechanics can help in basic repair work of EVs, that would make life easy for many of us. But the most important change which will propel a cultural shift towards EV is lowering the price of the vehicle, especially four-wheelers, and it seems our policymakers are already on it. 

All that is left then is to wait for our automobile giants to stop playing hide-and-seek and use their immense knowledge to power electric mobility by introducing good models in two and four-wheeler segments. 

If a group of college students can make an efficient EVs in their labs, surely these top companies can too! 

So if you still need a bit of a push to buy an EV instead of a petrol scooter, just remember, I have ridden 2,000 km till now and spent just Rs 350 for it. Good luck zooming into the future! 

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