1.56 lakh electric vehicles sold in India last year, market grows 20 per cent

The electric vehicle industry saw sales of 156,000 vehicles in India in the FY 19-20, out of which 152,000 were two-wheelers and 3,400 cars and 600 buses making up the rest, as per a release issued today by Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV).

This is a 20 per cent increase over FY 18-19, where 130,000 vehicles were sold with 126,000 two-wheelers, 3,600 cars and around 400 buses. When we compare both the years, it is the electric two-wheelers that have shown major growth. The latest numbers didn’t include electric rickshaws because of it being an unorganized sector but the sales is reported to be around 90,000 units.

Out of the 126,000 units of electric two-wheelers sold in FY 19-20, 97 per cent is from the electric scooters while the rest 3 per cent is from electric motorcycles and cycles. Low-speed electric scooters that have a maximum speed of 25 km/h and don’t need a registration contributed to 90 per cent of sales of all the electric two-wheelers sold.

The electric four-wheeler segment saw a drop from 3,600 units in FY 18-19 to 3,400 units in FY 19-20. While the acceptability of electric cars is on the increase, the numbers dropped mainly because of lack of bulk purchase of electric cars and also the discontinuation of Mahindra e2O, one of the leading electric car models.

Mr Sohinder Gill, Director General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles said though the EV industry will be hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, the cleaner air observed even in the worst polluting cities will make sure society moves towards electric mobility. He believes that the EV industry can bounce back faster than the ICE vehicles if given proper push from both government and the industry.

For the EV industry to fare better in FY 21-22, Mr Gill says that plans like electric two-wheelers sold without batteries and customer paying for batteries like fuel, e-commerce companies converting their fleet to electric, e taxi fleets adopting more EVs because of the lower operating cost will surely help.

Upcoming electric cars and scooters in India

In the next couple of years we see electric vehicles taking off in India in the two-wheeler and four-wheeler segment as more Indians will consider upgrading to an electric vehicle for urban use from their preferred brands. Several car companies are plotting affordable products with a long range that offer the same features and convenience as a fuel vehicle to begin their journey in the EV market. Starting with the eKUV100 that’s to come out later this year, the Maruti electric car based on the Wagon R and the Tata HBX EV are three examples where EV prices are expected to close the gap further to petrol-powered cars, whereas MG Motor India and Hyundai India (with a ‘mini’ Kona crossover) could further stimulate the market with sub-10 lakh (INR) price vehicles in 2022.

Scooters is another segment where there would be many adopters switching from petrol-powered models. This is due to the entry of mainstream players Bajaj, Hero Motocorp, Honda, Suzuki and Vespa (Piaggio) with affordable & convincing products as battery prices continue falling and technology continues improving.