While hardcore motorcycle enthusiast my frown upon the mention of electric vehicles, but they truly are the future of automobile industry. Electric vehicle market in India has the potential to be the world’s second largest market after China.
Going to and fro from their offices or going to the nearest departmental stores, most of the population in India use either two-wheelers or three-wheelers for their commute. Electric Vehicles (EV), not only have lesser carbon emissions but also incur lower operating costs.
The pie chart above shows the percentage of two-wheelers in our country, which is more than 7 times the next best which is cars. Most of the household in India own a two-wheeler. Two-wheeler being the most common mode of transport for people. Although the data is from 2002, it gives a fair idea. Even now, two-wheeler rules the roost, give or take some percentage of market share.
So this entire 70-80% is up for grabs for the electric two-wheeler manufacturer industry. With the government coming down hard on pollution norms, and taking steps towards a clean India, electric vehicles manufacturing companies can take the step forward and show the way ahead. Sooner or later, electric vehicles are going to be the norm, and the sooner the better.
The Electric vehicle market in India!
The Electric vehicle market in India is showing very positive growth. In FY 2018, EV sales almost doubled to 54,000 than the previous FY. As per Niti Aayog, the electric two-wheeler industry is expected to grow and take over 80% of the two wheeler market in India. What has and will continue to contribute to its growth is the growth of e-commerce and of delivery-based startups in the country.
Electric Vehicles Sale in 2020
High speed (>25 Kmph) E2W (Electric 2-wheelers) saw a sale of 54,512 units in the first half of 2020. Combine that with E3W (Electric 3-wheelers) which saw a sale of 42,513 units in the same time period. Despite taking a hit fue to the coronavirus pandemic, the numbers are good, if you look at the past trend.
If you look at the graph above, Hero Electric leads the sales chart in the first few months of 2020. Then we see a massive decline in April 2020, where sale plunges to nearly zero units for all manufacturers. This is when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak and government had imposed a lockdown. There after you can see that sales has been rising consistently in May and June of 2020. This graph is only for E2W. E3W also shows the same trend, where you can see sales plunging to near zero in March and then gradually improving thereafter.
Government Schemes On Electric Vehicles
As per union budget 2019, the government has slashed the GST on electric vehicles from earlier 12% to 5%, along with 1.5 lakh tax exemption on loan taken for the purchase of electric vehicles. The government has also proposed 10,000 cr subsidy under the scheme called Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric vehicles (FAME-2), for subsidising the purchase of 10 lakhs electric two-wheelers, 7,000 electric buses and 55,000 electric and hybrid passenger cars in the three-year period starting April 2019.
However, the FAME-2 scheme is yet to take off. Some criteria mentioned by the government could be the reason. For example, vehicles with 50% localisation and expensive LI-ion batteries are eligible for subsidy. Furthermore, two-wheelers should have at least 40 Kmph speed and should go 80 Km on a single charge. This was done to disincentivize EV makers, from importing parts from China and start to make it locally.
Whatever the reason might be, the idea didn’t took off because people didn’t show the same response. People are more willing to buy low speed electric vehicles because they are cheaper. People aren’t ready to buy high speed electric vehicles yet. Government should have subsidised the purchase of low speed electric vehicles first, and then continue it to high speed ones in the future, when people seem to be willing to go for them.
Big Players In The Market
Today some of the manufacturers that are leading EV revolution in India are, Ather Energy, Okinawa, Ampere Vehicles, Evolet India, Bajaj and Hero Motor Corp. Let us look at some of their flagship Models.
Hero Motor Corp. backed Ather Energy is a Bengaluru based maker of electric scooters. As of now, it offers two variants – The Ather 450 and Ather 450X, which is its flagship variant.
The Ather 450X offers highest acceleration in the 125cc segment. Both of them feature a 7″ capacitive touchscreen with inbuilt 4G LTE support, Snapdragon 212 processor and Android open source OS, to offer an intelligent riding experience. Both of them have three riding modes, Eco – 75 Km range, Ride – 65 Km range and Sport offering a range of 55 Km. It offers fast charging, upto 1 Km/min which should charge it fully in 1-2 hours. On road price of 450 is ₹ 1,15,719 whereas the 450X costs a whopping ₹ 1,59,000. You can also lease the 450 at ₹2,589/month.
With over 300 dealers across India, Okinawa is one of India’s fastest growing electric scooter manufacturers. Addressing the Make In India campaign, Okinawa had launched the PraisePro model, equipped with detachable Li-ion battery giving it a range of 88 Kms and hassle-free battery replacing and charging. It also sports three riding modes, e-ABS, telescopic front forks and a charging time of 2-3 hours which is not very convenient. Its ex-showroom price is ₹ 79,277 which is near or equal to the Honda Activa.
Revolt Motors offers two models, RV400 and the RV300. RV400 has a 3000W battery where as RV300 has a 1500W one. Revolt claim of 150 Km of travel per charge, with a top speed of 80 Km/h and 0-100% charge in 4.5 hours, which is not bad considering the range they claim to be offering. The best thing is it is a motorcycle, not a scooter and they claim it to be India’s first AI enable motorcycle. Also you can choose four different sound modes for your bike. Electric motors don’t produce much sound, hence there are speakers to give you a feeling of riding a bike. It has a price tag of ₹ 84,000 – ₹ 1.03 lakhs.
Bajaj is also not too far behind, with its Bajaj “Signature”Chetak. Chetak has a 4080W battery which offers 95 Km/charge. Chetak has a very eye catching design, which comes in vibrant colors. It also offers day-time running LED lights, 0-100% charge in 5 hours and 25% charge in 1 hour.
With advance in technology, we are witnessing batteries that are lighter, powerful and charge better. However, it still has a long way to go, to be capable of offering intercity travel. Which won’t take very long, looking at the research that id going into it.
The technology we have as of now, is suitable for our daily commuting purposes. Moreover, electric vehicles’ operating cost are much lesser. Being responsible citizens, we should be aware of our carbon emissions and minimize it as much as possible. Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and noe, the time is ripe for us, to embrace them.