The thrill of driving and lower running cost per kilometre has made luxury car owners give up their pricey machines and go for fully electric cars instead, signalling a steady change in consumer buying preferences of India.
A businessman from Chennai and a couple of entrepreneurs from Pune have traded in their Mercedes-Benz and Volvo for an MG ZS EV. Such trade-ins are unusual since MG Motor is not in the league of luxury brands such as Mercedes and Volvo but competes against Tata Motors, Jeep and Mahindra, among others.
Chennai-based Midhun Babu who drove a 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA chose the ZS EV, which he says is more practical and offers a comparatively better ride experience. Babu’s average daily drive is for 50-70 kms, which includes the distance from his home in Chennai to his factory in Sriperumbudur in Kanchipuram district.
“I was not sure of shifting to an EV but when I took a test drive it changed my perception. The car does not have a gearbox and the way it drives is another level. The car was actually bought for my mom but I take it to the office most often,” Babu told Moneycontrol.
The ZS EV is not the only car in Babu’s family. His garage also has a seven-seater Land Rover Discovery, used for long-distance travel, which is beyond the 400 km range offered by the ZS EV.
“We felt the need for a more practical car when we thought of trading the Mercedes. The drive in the electric is even better than a normal automatic transmission car,” Babu explained.
For 70-year-old Gurunath Vaman Alurkar, the proprietor of Alurkar Engineers in Pune, the reason for switching to an EV was purely environmental. “Adoption of EVs should be encouraged in cities where pollution levels are breaking all records. The air is so polluted. I too have a breathing issue. Switching to a zero-emission car was the reason for choosing the MG ZS EV,” Alurkar said in an interaction.
Alurkar traded in his 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class for the MG ZS EV. “The EV has features similar to that of the Mercedes. I charge the car only twice every month since my daily drive is just 15-20 kms, from my residence in Bavdhan to my office in Kothrud,” Alurkar said.
Though electric vehicles constituted just 0.22 percent of the total domestic passenger vehicle market in India at the end of FY21, the level of interest from buyers is certainly on the upswing. The pandemic notwithstanding, battery electric passenger vehicles are estimated to have seen a jump of 60-75 percent in volumes.
Electric cars are estimated to have closed FY21 with sales of 5,500-6,000 units compared to FY20, when the segment saw sales of 3,400 units. The volumes were split into only five models, led by market leader Tata Nexon. Mercedes-Benz was the sixth and only luxury car brand to have an electric car on sale in FY21.