The Government of India is making every effort for the full electrification of mobility in the country. This will not only reduce air pollution in the country, but also reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. In this effort, last year the Delhi government had announced not to allow diesel vehicles older than 10 years to ply on the roads of the capital. However, in December 2021, the government launched a new scheme for vehicle owners, under which if diesel vehicle owners who are older than 10 years convert their vehicles to electric, they will be allowed to ply on state roads. Although there are still countless questions in people’s mind regarding electric retrofit kits, the biggest question is how much money will they have to spend to convert their diesel vehicle to electric vehicle and what is the right and legal way to get retrofitting done? If you also have such questions in your mind, then you should read this article till the end.
First of all, let us tell you about this process of converting a diesel vehicle to electric, which is called retrofitting. In retrofitting, many large parts of the ICE vehicle are removed and replaced with electric parts. Dr. Amitabh Saran, Founder and CEO of EV technology firm Altigreen, to the Times of India Told That in order to convert a vehicle to electric, first of all, many other parts including engine, fuel tank, fuel line of that car are replaced with electric motor, battery pack and some other necessary units.
Saran told the publication, “The problem starts here is that you first have to remove everything remotely attached to the fossil fuel power plant. This includes the engine, fuel line, fuel tank, filter, AC unit and much more. After removing all this what you get is the chassis and cabin of the vehicle, wheels, brakes and some other things related to the driving of the vehicle.” He continued, “Once you remove all that, you have to start putting together an electric conversion kit, which consists of a motor, a controller to drive that motor, a very strong wire harness, battery pack, There are many other things involved including battery management system.So you have to be ready to customize this process for every model of used cars, make sure it is safe and then the vehicle has to go for type approval and get EV by RTO as to get support.”
Now, even if someone gets their diesel car retrofitted, the next question is how to do this process legally? Firstly, the person doing the conversion will have to get his vehicle retrofitted at a government approved retrofitting facility. These authorized retrofitters have to first get approval through the standard homologation process for retrofit kits and their installation process. Homologation is the process of certifying that a vehicle is road-worthy and meets the criteria specified by the authorities in order to legally ply on the roads. According to the report, the tricky part is that a standard homologation process will be different for every model of car and the EV kit that is compatible with it. Then there is also the matter of who bears the cost of homologation.
Now it comes to how much does retrofitting cost and why investing money on this process is a good option? Saran tells TOI that “On an average, a 1kW lithium-ion battery costs around Rs 14,000. Those looking to replace their old SUV and get at least 250 km range from their retrofitted EV will need around 25kW to 30 kW. Therefore, the cost of the battery pack alone would be at least Rs 3,50,000. On this, if the AC unit is chosen, it would cost around Rs 1 lakh. Also, to complete the conversion. The required electric motor and other peripherals can go up to Rs 2.5-3 lakh. Now this is a significant investment on a 10 year old vehicle.”
Kalyan C Korimerla, MD and co-promoter of ETrio, India’s first ARAI-certified retrofitter, told TOI Auto, “The cost of the kit for a typical small car would be around INR 3-4 lakhs.” Corimerla further added, “Buying a new EV car is always better from the customer point of view, especially in terms of warranty, reliability and ability to obtain finance. On the other hand, retrofitment makes more economic sense for the commercial vehicle segment, Because it plays a vital role in adding a new lease of life and performance to cargo vehicles especially used for logistics.”
According to the report, the Delhi government is in its final stages of launching an online portal to streamline the process of retrofitting old vehicles. The portal will provide a one-stop solution for vehicle owners to get in touch with ARAI-authorized retrofitters across the country. The portal will also have provisions for revision, registration and support of these retrofitted electric vehicles.