Electric 2-wheelers add spark to scooter mkt this Diwali

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 1 2009, 04:15am hrs
Buoyed by the growing demand for electric two-wheelers, sales of which are expected to double in next two years, leading electric vehicle manufactures have lined up several new vehicles to grab a bigger market share this festive season.

While Hero Electric, the largest player with a market share of 43% in the electric two-wheeler category, will soon launch E-Sprint in northern India around Diwali, its erstwhile partner, Ultra Motors, has recently launched two new scooters Ultra Fun and Ultra Shakti.

Lohia Auto Industries, the makers of Oma and Fame e-bikes, which were recently launched, is also looking at higher sales this October on the back of these two new products.

As per the Society for Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, the sales of electric two-wheelers in India is expected to double in next two years from nearly 1,20,000 bikes in 2009 to 2,40,000 bike in 2011 and 3,20,000 e-bikes in 2012, making India one of the fastest growing markets for electric vehicles in the world. The total sales of electric two-wheelers will go up by 25% in 2010 at 1,50,000 units, against 1,00,000 units in 2008-09 and an estimated 1,20,000 units in 2009-10.

With E-Sprint, we will have a higher speed bike in our portfolio that will help us to register 15-20% higher sales in October than our average monthly sales of around 4,000 units, said Naveen Munjal, managing director, Hero Electric, adding that another low-speed electric vehicle will be launched towards the end of this financial year.

He said the company, which currently commands a market share of 43%, is eyeing a nearly 40% jump in sales in 2009-10 at 46,000 units, against 33,000 units sold last year. Maxi, Optima, Optima Plus and Waves are some of the other electric two-wheelers by the company.

Awareness about electric bikes has increased substantially in the recent past, leading to a significant growth in electronic bike sales this year. This has encouraged us to invest more in R&D and localisation efforts, said KK Bhan, chief executive officer, Ultra Motor Company, India, adding that the company currently commands 25-30% of the market and is expecting a significant growth with Ultra Shakti and Ultra Fun launched recently.

Even Lohia Auto Industries, which started commercial sales of Oma and Fame since April this year, is eyeing nearly 12,000 units in the current financial year. As the company expands its dealership network from 15 dealers to 50 dealers by the end of 2009-10, we will be able to sell 12,000 units and nearly 4,000-5,000 units would be sold around Diwali alone, said Ayush Lohia, chief executive office, Lohia Auto Industries.

Lohia said the company is currently in talks with Exide to indigenously develop batteries for its two-wheelers. The company is currently doing trials on some e-bikes powered by Exide batteries and we hope to launch them within two-three months, he said, adding that this is part of the Rs 150-crore investments that the company will make in the next five years.