The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) has released the September sales number for electric two-wheelers in India, which stood at 2544 units. The data only includes sales numbers of High-Speed Electric two-wheelers (HS E2W), and as against the 1473 vehicles sold in September 2019, the industry saw a Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y) growth of 72 per cent. While that is certainly an impressive number, we have to consider the fact that last year, during this period, the Indian auto industry was facing one of the biggest slowdowns. Furthermore, several high-speed electric two-wheelers - including the Ather 450X, Bajaj Chetak, and TVS iQube - were launched in 2020.
Furthermore, in the first half of the financial year 2020-21, that is between April and September 2020, the total electric two-wheeler sales stood at 7,552 units, a decline of over 25 per cent compared to the 10,161 electric two-wheelers sold during the same period in the last financial year. Commenting on the industry's performance, Sohinder Gill, Director General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), said, "One of the main reasons of the stagnant sales is attributed to customers not able to buy products due to COVID 19, which led to lockdown in the country. However, the industry has been quickly able to enter the positive curve soon after the government announced the unlock process"
Having said that, one cannot deny the fact that there is a rising demand for electric two-wheelers in India. In fact, compared to the 1,793 units sold in August 2020, the industry saw a month-on-month growth of about 42 per cent. As against the 1,343 units sold in July 2020, the industry saw a growth of 89 per cent in September 2020. Talking about the increase in demand, Gill said "We are experiencing huge customers' interest in greener vehicles as they have seen how the environment looks like when no fuel-guzzling vehicles are running on roads. The upcoming festive season will add to the pent up demand and help OEMs to recover what they lost in quarter 1 and 2 due to COVID lockdown."
Talking about how the government can help boost demand, Sohinder Gill said, "Some of the measures that could be adopted are removal of the 'range criteria' from two-wheelers for a subsidy, reduction of GST on batteries from 18 to 5 per cent when sold separately, mandating delivery businesses to convert their fleets to EVs, and promote electric mobility under 'Swatchh Bharat Campaign."