Electric Car Sales In India Fall in FY18, Electric Two-Wheelers Record Healthy Growth

While electric two-wheelers gained volumes being affordable, electric car sales remain subdued due to lack of charging infrastructure and high cost.

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Electric cars came down to 1200 units from 2000 units in FY2016-17 recording a slump of 40 per cent

Highlights

  • EV industry has witnessed a growth of 124 per cent selling 56,000 units
  • Electric car sales have deteriorated, coming down to 1200 units from 2000
  • Electric 2wheelers showed a substantial growth of 138% with 54,800 units

The Electric vehicle industry in India has been growing steadily but the lack of charging infrastructure and policies have made things a little difficult for the industry to grow. Though the EV industry has witnessed a growth of 124 per cent selling 56,000 units in the fiscal year 2017-18 as against 25,000 units in the previous year, electric car sales have deteriorated. According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), in FY 2017-18 the sales of electric cars came down to 1200 units from 2000 units in FY2016-17 recording a slump of 40 per cent. The sales were flat at 2000 units in FY2016-17.

However, the numbers for electric two-wheelers for the 2017-18 fiscal year look promising. Electric two-wheelers showed a substantial growth of 138 per cent with 54,800 units sold in FY2017-18 compared to 23,000 in the previous year. The key reason behind the success of electric two-wheelers is affordability and they're used for short commutes which eliminate range anxiety. Motorcycle makers like Hero Motocorp and TVS have already seen potential in this space and have started investing in start-ups like Ather Energy and Ultraviolette Automotive to bring out new technologies to power their electric two wheelers.

Category

2016-2017

2017-18

Electric 2-wheelers

23,000

54,800

Electric Cars

2000

1200

Total EVs

25,000

56,000

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The numbers for electric two-wheelers for the 2017-18 fiscal year look promising

The four-wheeler segment on the other hand bears the brunt of lack of EV chargers, high battery cost and range anxiety. In India, Mahindra and Tata Motors offer electric vehicles like the e20 hatchback, e-Verito compact sedan and Tigor electric sub-compact sedan. Albeit, none of these vehicles offer over 130 km of electric range and are around 45 per cent more expensive than their Internal Combustion engine powered counterpart. Moreover, it takes between 6-8 hours to completely charge the batteries, making intercity commute next to impossible

Although, the government has assigned an amount of ₹ 5500 crore to the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) 2 policy, it hasn't promised any additional subsidy on the import of EVs and in the last financial budget has increased the duty on components. The industry has been demanding to drop the 8 per cent GST rate on EVs and to subsidise components in order to make EVs a viable option.

Global automakers like Audi, Mercedes and Porsche do have plans to bring their EVs to India. In an interaction with carandbike, Michael Jopp, Vice President- Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India said, "We have thought about bringing our EQC to India but couldn't take a final call due to lack of infrastructure and it makes no sense to ask thrice the price for the electric car compared to its mechanical counterpart. Besides, we cannot promise our customers a seamless ownership experience as the infrastructure in India does not substantiate."

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There has been development on the EV space in India with companies like Suzuki, Toshiba and Toyota owned Denso joining forces to produce lithium-ion battery mules in the country, but the major focus for them remains the export markets. Though, Suzuki had earlier said that the plant will supply batteries to the EVs which Maruti Suzuki is targeting to roll out by 2020. The Japanese carmaker had started testing its range of Electric WagonR in India last week. In fact Hyundai too is all set to bring in an electric car next year.

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