September 19, 2021

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Electric two-wheelers see rising interest

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The electric two-wheeler sales increase is on the back of a very small base and comes after the EV market suffered a severe setback in the first half of 2020.

CHENNAI: With petrol breaching the psychological price barrier of Rs 90 per litre, electric two-wheelers are getting a surge of interest from customers.

According to Sohinder Gill, director-general, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), e-two wheeler sales have gone up from around 4,500 units in December to 5,000 units in January and 6,000 units in February as per the Vahan data.

“The EV value proposition was always cheaper than petrol, but now people are talking about it more,” he added.

A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows the reason why. Typically, a popular scooter like the Honda Activa gives a fuel economy of up to 60 km to the litre. So an Activa customer spends on an average one litre petrol per day, which is between Rs 91 and 93 right now depending on the city.

In comparison, a Hero Electric HX gives around 100 km per charge which costs around Rs 20. So per day drive of around 60 km will cost an EV owner Rs 10-12. The difference is at least Rs 80 per day or just under Rs 30,000 per year.

In price terms, both are similarly positioned in the Rs 50,000-70,000 range but EVs cost lower in states like Delhi which have announced subsidies.

Jeetender Sharma, MD, Okinawa Autotech, said, “The sharp increase in petrol prices has fuelled the demand for electric options, and we have seen a 30% increase in sales in January and February over the year ago period.”

Similarly, Ather Energy has seen a 30X increase in inquiries from November to February, said Nilay Chandra, director marketing, Ather Energy. “EVs are more affordable not only from the fuel angle but also from maintenance, servicing and in some cases the upfront price angle but customers are suddenly mentioning the fuel price issue a lot more right now because of petrol crossing the psychological barrier of Rs 90 per litre,” he added.

Of course, the electric two-wheeler sales increase is on the back of a very small base and comes after the EV market suffered a severe setback in the first half of 2020. Compared to volumes of around 4000-6000 units per month, petrol two-wheelers clock around half a million scooters and just under a million motorcycles per month.

The e-two wheeler volumes have also not come anywhere close to the FAME II target of a million e-two wheelers by March 2022.

EV marketers say the uptick in EV volumes is due to a number of reasons. “Petrol price hike has led to an increase in traffic, but demand has increased in the last couple of months due to new products, enhanced access points and customer support programmes like extended warranty,” said an Ampere Electric spokesperson.

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