90% of Indian car owners willing to consider an electric car, says Velocity MR survey

According to a pan India study by market research and analysis firm Velocity MR, 90% of Indian car owners claimed that they would opt for an electric car, provided the right infrastructure is made available along with optimum support system for maintenance of their electric cars.

The finding was based on a sample size of 2200 across SEC A car owners in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.

Over 50% respondents suggested that the government should take initiatives to increase awareness about electric vehicles and provide financial assistance in the form of subsidy and reduced road tax. The study observed that while there is some awareness on electric cars, there are also several misconceptions related to the category. One of the most common misconceptions is low range per charge. 70% of respondents believed that an electric car provided a maximum range of 70 km per charge, whereas the basic models of electric cars in the Indian market provide a range of over 100 km per charge.

The current adoption of electric cars in India is very low, but with international brands like Tesla and Toyota planning to launch, this segment is expected to grow. However, the government too has to take necessary steps to provide the required infrastructure and support to auto companies, who in turn should focus on educating prospective customers about the new technology and address prevailing misconceptions.

Highlights of the syndicated study on Electric Cars in India:

  • Electric cars are at a very nascent stage in India with the current ownership of only about 1%
  • Respondents believe that electric cars are currently not viable for them due to:
    • Perceived low mileage per charge – close to 70% of the respondents believe that the mileage offered by an electric car would be 70 km or less
    • Lack of basic infrastructure like charging stations
    • High cost of purchase, maintenance & lack of subsidies
  • 90% of the intended car buyers claimed that they would have bought an electric car instead of their current petrol/ diesel cars, provided they had more options, regarding pricing, model, brand, etc.
  • With the current barriers/ concerns addressed, the future potential of electric cars is exciting. This can be attributed to:
    • About 90% of the respondents claimed that they would consider electric car for their next purchase and also recommend it to their family and friends
    • From among a third of the respondents interested in electric cars, about 31% claimed that they would use their electric car as the primary car, while, 69% claimed that they would use it as their secondary/ additional car only
    • Most of the respondents are also willing to pay a premium of about 17% more than the cost of their conventional engine type cars in the same category/ body type
  • While 91% of the interested respondents claimed that they would prefer using their electric cars more on weekdays, only 2% claimed that they would use these cars for long distance and out of city travel
  • When quizzed on the electric car brands in the market, Mahindra and Tesla were found to be the top brands associated with electric cars
  • Honda turned out to be the most preferred brand to buy an electric car from, if it were to launch one in India, with about 79% opting for the brand. This was closely followed by Maruti, with 75% respondents preferring this brand over others
  • Awareness about the proposed launch of electric cars in India currently was observed to be high
    • Among the 70% who are aware of an international brand launching an electric car in India, about 20% claimed it to be Tesla, and about 10% claimed it to be Toyota
    • When quizzed about the most anticipated brands to launch an electric car in the near future, Tata (39%) was the most widely recalled Indian brand, followed by Maruti (15%)
  • As per respondents, government initiatives that are likely to boost consideration of and subsequent purchase of electric cars are
    • Promotion of electric vehicle usage, especially cars by providing subsidies and reducing related taxes, such as road tax, etc.
    • Provide relevant Infrastructure such as charging stations, etc.
    • Identifying indigenous ways of reducing the cost of electric car components and configuration, thus reducing the overall cost of purchase and maintenance of the vehicle

Existing Car Ownership/ Future purchase behaviour:

  • Close to 50% of the respondents own more than one car. This is slightly higher in the national capital Delhi, where close to 2/3rds of the households owning multiple cars
  • Sedan is the most widely owned category with a share of about 30%, followed by SUV
  • 1 in 5 cars owned by the respondents is a Maruti or a Hyundai. Maruti dominates the hatchback (B HB) category, while Hyundai is widely owned in the Sedan segment (B –Sedan & C/D Sedan). Honda is also popular in the B –Sedan category and the SUV category is dominated by Mahindra
  • On an average 3 cars were evaluated by the respondents during the decision-making process for their purchase. In line with the ownership, SUV and Sedan are widely considered/ are most popular categories for the respondents
  • While safety features like airbags, ABS etc. were considered highly important, engine performance and fuel efficiency were the top factors considered when evaluating the purchase of a car
  • Honda came up as the most desired brand among all car owners. Also, satisfaction quotient among the owners of Honda, Maruti, Toyota and Mahindra, was high, as the majority of them are willing to consider the same brand for their next purchase as well
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