The sale of electric two-wheelers (E-2W) in India stood at 25,735 in 2020, a 5.46% decline compared to 27,224 in 2019, the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) has said in a report.
The report said that the ambitious target to sell 1 million E-2Ws under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME)-II program by March 2022 is nowhere in sight.
FAME-II, a three-year program with a budget of ₹100 billion ($1.41 billion), was launched to promote electric mobility. The government approved the proposal to implement the program from April 2019.
The target under the program was to put 1 million high-speed E-2W on the road by March 2022. However, the total sale of E-2Ws in the country since January 2019 stood at 52,959, of which only 31,813 units were qualified for incentives.
Sohinder Gill, Director General of SMEV, said the program could not encourage consumers to shift from the polluting petrol bikes to E-2Ws, mainly because the qualification criteria of FAME-II made these bikes unaffordable to the masses despite the subsidy.
“Despite the setback, the E-2W industry is seeing a positive sentiment and a very high level of interest from consumers. If FAME-II is rejigged to remove the needless handicaps, the adoption can grow exponentially in a short time. This can help achieve the stated objective and catalyze major investments into ‘Made in India’ products and locally sourced components,” he added.
SMEV said that the central and state governments took many positive steps for the EV sector, such as the announcement to support battery manufacturing with a financial outlay of ₹180 billion (~$2.46 billion) and allowing the sale of E-2Ws without batteries. However, the only vital missing link is a robust and consumer-friendly FAME-II policy, it added.
According to SMEV, the registration of high-speed E-2Ws stood at 2,544 units in September 2020, a 72% year-on-year increase compared to 1,473 units sold in the same month last year.
Mercom reported in December 2020 that the government would allow two-wheelers running on electricity or alternate fuels (such as bio-ethanol) to be operated as taxis.
The manufacturing and sales activity were impacted by COVID-19 in the EV segment in India in the first half of 2020 due to a lengthy lockdown and exodus of the workforce from the cities. Despite headwinds, companies expect a phenomenal year for electric vehicles in 2021.
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.