Hero MotoCorp has now joined the growing voices of caution against the government's policy to replace all two-wheelers below 150 cc category with electric engines by 2025 and all three-wheelers by 2023. The government's think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft proposal which calls for banning all two-wheelers with engine capacity below 150 cc by 2025, and to replace all three-wheelers with internal combustion engines by 2023. Although, it's still a draft proposal, the government has maintained that automobile manufacturers will get enough time to prepare for the electric mobility revolution if this move is taken as a policy decision.
Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company, along with industry body SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), as well as the apex body of Indian industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has cautioned the government. Manufacturers and industry observers maintain that such a move, without a well-planned, and thought out roadmap will disrupt the industry, already facing challenges of leapfrogging into the Bharat Stage VI emission regulations which will come into effect from April 1, 2020.
"We highly appreciate and whole-heartedly support the government's vision of a more sustainable and environment-friendly future. At Hero MotoCorp, we are unequivocally aligned with the Government in this move towards Electric Vehicles (EVs). We also urge the entire industry to help lead the world in adopting alternative mobility solutions, just like we are doing in cleaner emissions through BS-VI norms," said Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Hero MotoCorp.
"This move (towards EVs) will be very critical though because it impacts an industry that is a significant contributor to the Country's GDP and is a large jobs creator. It also puts the industry, manufacturers, and customers in unfamiliar territory, as the automotive ecosystem all over the world is still only beginning to understand the development and applications of EV technologies. In such a scenario, coming close on the heels of the implementation of BS-VI norms in 2020, this move could have serious implications on the industry and the millions who are dependent on it."
"Therefore, we propose a more cautious, clear and realistic roadmap towards the adoption of EVs. The scale and timing of the adoption need prudent deliberations and we will gladly support all stakeholders in this process."
While the government has proposed a ban on internal combustion engines, no mainstream manufacturer has a single electric two-wheeler which is production ready at the moment. Companies like Hero MotoCorp, TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto are involved in creating the next generation of electric mobility solutions, but a production-ready model is yet to be finalised from any mainstream manufacturer. The industry is already reeling under sweeping changes to make all products ready to meet the BS-VI emission regulations, and estimates put the investment in the region of ₹ 70,000-80,000 crore to meet the BS-VI challenges. A policy change to usher in electric vehicles to replace conventional internal combustion engines within the next five years will likely be a huge challenge, not just for manufacturers, but for the entire supply chain ecosystem.