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The electric vehicle industry in the country has been growing at a steady pace. However, the lack of proper infrastructure and government policies has caused a hindrance in its overall growth.
According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), the EV industry has grown by 124 per cent to 56,000 sales unit in FY2017-18 from 25,000 units the previous year. However, the growth is mainly attributed to electric two-wheelers.
Electric car sales,on the other hand, has slumped by almost 40 per cent from 2000 units in FY2016-17 to 1200 units in FY2017-18. However, during the same fiscal year, electric two-wheelers recorded a 138 per cent growth from 23,000 to 54,800 units.
According to SMEV, the key reason behind the growth in electric two-wheelers is the affordability and elimination of range anxiety, as most of the customers use it only for short commutes.
Seeing the potential for growth in this segment, major two-wheeler brands have already started investing in electric two-wheeler start-ups. This includes companies such as Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motors investing in Ather energy and Ultraviolette Automotive. These investments further help such start-ups to come out with new and better technologies to power their electric two-wheelers.
Unlike the EV segment in the two-wheeler market, electric cars are suffering in sales due to the lack of infrastructure, high-battery costs and range anxiety in the country.
Companies like Tata Motors and Mahindra are currently leading the EV race in India with the availability of their electric cars such as e-Verito and the Tigor EV. However, both cars come with just 130km of maximum range and are 45 per cent more expensive than their IC engine powered siblings. Moreover, electric cars still take more than six to eight hours for a complete charge of their batteries.
The government of India has assigned Rs 5,500 crore as part of their FAME 2 policy, however, they are yet to offer any additional subsidy on the import of EVs into the country. The government is also yet to clarify its stand on EVs in India, with most automakers left in ambiguity towards the EV policies. This has also prevented many major automobile brands from entering the EV market in India.
However, companies like Suzuki are working towards introducing electric vehicles in the Indian market. The Japanese giant has collaborated with Toyota India to not only develop electric cars but electric batteries as well. Suzuki has already begun setting up its electric battery production plant in India, with plans to launch its first EV by 2020.
Thoughts On Electric Vehicles In India
The EV industry has been growing at a steady pace, with people now recognising electric vehicles as a means of cleaner and economical mode of transport. Electric two-wheelers have already gained a lot of confidence as the future mode of transport. However, with still certain ambiguity left over the financial mechanism, price gap and policies, it will certainly take more time for EVs to truly become the next phase of transportation in India.