Current status and challenges of motorcycle electrification in Asia
In Asia, which accounts for 80% of global motorcycle sales, electrification has not progressed very far, except in China. In major motorcycle producing and selling countries such as India, Thailand and Indonesia, governments have introduced policies that combine the popularisation of EV motorcycles with industrial development, in an attempt to make electric motorcycles one of the new pillars of domestic industry.
However, hasty efforts to foster the electric two-wheeled vehicle industry rely on low-cost Chinese-made electric components and are limited to the assembly of electric components such as motors and battery packs and EV vehicles, while key electric components such as motor stators, rotors, control units, battery management systems and battery cells Localisation of key electric components such as motor stators, rotors, control units, battery management systems and battery cells has not progressed very far.
In India, Hero Electric and Okinawa Autotech grew rapidly under the FAME India Scheme Phase II, a policy to accelerate the spread of electric vehicles and promote production, and were competing for the top spot with 100 000 EV two-wheelers sold in 2022. However, due to the suspension of subsidies and damage to its brand due to irregularities in regulations on domestic production of electric parts, Hero Electric and Okinawa Autotech’s EV two-wheeler sales in January-August 2023 plummeted to 27 000 units, down 59% and 26 000 units, down 60% year-on-year, respectively. On the other hand, competitors Ola Electric and TVS Motor have continued to grow by more than three times year-on-year to 164,000 and 103,000 units respectively, but are dependent on China and South Korea for battery cells, making localisation a challenge. Thailand and Indonesia have started to provide purchase subsidies for EV motorcycles that meet certain localisation requirements from 2022 to 2023, but the reality is that many EV products are based on Chinese products, and EV motorcycle sales in both countries are expected to remain below 30 000 units in 2023. EV motorcycle sales in 2023 are expected to be less than 30,000 units in both countries.