If I am planning to travel at a much later date, could the visa be issued to start on a date in the future?

No. The visa will be valid from the date it is issued.

Posted by: Teresa Ng | March 13, 2015,2:18 pm
We are a commercial website. If you use our service to get an e-Visa, you will have to pay our service fee and an Indian Government Fee. We will give you advice and support to help you with your e-Visa applications. You will have your e-Visa updated frequently, and get a decision on your e-Visa from us. If you do not use our service, you can apply in person at the Indian embassy in your country or by using the official Indian Government website. The cost of this is lower, but you do not get a refund if your e-Visa application is rejected.