The electric vehicle (EV) industry has clocked 20% growth in financial year 2019-20 (FY20) to 156,000 units against 130,000 units sold in the previous fiscal year. Of this, 152,000 were two-wheelers, 3,400 cars and 600 buses. The corresponding figures for FY 2018-19 were 126,000 two-wheelers, 3,600 cars and around 400 buses making a total of 130,000 units. The 20% growth has been largely on account of the two-wheelers. The figure does not include e-rickshaws, which still falls under the unorganised sector with a reported sale of around 90,000 units. The corresponding figures of the e-rickshaws sold in the previous financial year have not been documented, said Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) in a release on Monday.
Of the total number of electric two-wheelers (E2Ws) sold in FY2019-20, 97% were electric scooters and a small volume of motorcycles and electric cycles constituted the remaining 3%. Low-speed scooters that pick up a max speed of 25km/hour and do not need registration with the transport authorities constituted a whopping 90% of all the E2Ws sold.
In the electric four-wheeler segment, 3,400 units were sold in the period under consideration compared to 3,600 units in the previous financial year. The decrease in number is attributed mainly to the lack of bulk purchase of e-cars in FY 2019-20 and discontinuation of one of the leading car models. The acceptability of electric cars in the premium segment in the second half of the year was a positive signal of a quantum jump of a much higher volume of e-cars in FY 2020-21.
The e-taxi segment is also beginning to get some traction, though the range of e-cars and lack of charging spots are a deterrent in the growth of the e-taxi segment. E-buses went into a yo-yo of big commitments by the state governments not translating into purchases.
On the sales report, Sohinder Gill, director-general of SMEV, said, “The EV industry is taking shape and we believe that despite the Covid-19 outbreak, the FY 2020-21 will be a defining year for all the EV segments. While the EV industry is surely going to face the brunt of Covid19 like any other automotive business, the clearer skies and the cleaner air in even the worst polluting cities is certainly leaving a permanent impression on the minds of the customers about how they can breathe easy and remain healthy if the society moves towards e-mobility.”
“The latest Harvard research of how PM2.5 pollution can multiply the risk of Covid deaths is a stark reality of how the pollutants of the IC vehicles can harm us and is certainly going to make the policymakers think on how to accelerate the EV growth. I feel, given the right impetus by the government and the industry, the EV industry can spring back faster than the ailing IC vehicles segment. A pertinent factor that may work in favour of E2Ws post-Covid would be the choice of switching over from crowded mass transport to the sensibly priced electric two-wheelers with almost the same cost of commuting, as of public transport,” he added.
According to him, “Few experiments like E2Ws being sold without the batteries and customer paying for the batteries as a fuel, e-commerce companies realising the economic benefits of EVs and converting their fleets, e-carts becoming convenient and cost-effective means of short distance logistics, e-taxi fleets beginning to make money due to lower operating costs may bring around the inflection point in the EV industry in FY 21-22.”
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