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Indian electric two-wheelers demand could reach 1 million units by 2023

In India, demand for electric two-wheelers EVs is forecast to reach 1 million units by 2023. According to the Indian Ministry of Road Transport and Highways database, demand is expected to continue to grow significantly, expanding from 154,000 units in 2021 to 624,000 units in 2022. The recent increase in demand is due to three main reasons: the impact of FAME-India’s subsidy on new vehicle purchases; the impact of high fuel prices and preferential electricity tariffs for rural areas; and the increased launch of new vehicles by start-ups and existing two-wheeler manufacturers.

In January this year, Auto Expo 2023, the first car show in three years to be held in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi, was virtually devoid of engine-driven OEMs such as Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor, Honda and Yamaha, while EV giants Ola and Okinawa, Hero Electric and Ather also did not exhibit. The only relatively well-known exhibitors were Ampere (Greaves), Tork and Ultraviolette; Joy, Liger Mobility, Devot, Fijiyama, EVTRIC, Quantum, LML, Matter, MTA EV and Future Garages. The appeal of local start-ups and start-ups in the pre-mass production stage was noticeable, as well as local start-ups that are not so well-known.

One thing that emerged from the exhibits at Auto Expo 2023 is the widespread development of EVs for motorbikes and cruisers: the EV shift is quoted as being scooter-led, with over 95% of models actually sold in India being scooters. On the other hand, macho styling is preferred by male users in India, as demonstrated by the strong performance of the Royal Enfield, which is primarily a retro-style premium model. Motorbike and cruiser EVs may become a major force in the context of rapid economic growth.

Sales of electric two-wheelers in India jumped from 154,000 in 2021 to 624,000 in 2022, almost four times the previous year’s figure, and monthly sales continued to exceed 64,000 units from October 2022 to as recently as February 2023. However, various problems have arisen, including the outbreak of fire accidents involving electric two-wheelers, irregularities in the provisions for domestic production of parts, which is a condition for the provision of subsidies, and the proliferation of new manufacturers based on Chinese products. Against this backdrop, the Indian Government has added new items to the safety standards for battery packs/cells/BMS to improve safety, and is shifting its focus from promoting sales of subsidised electric two-wheelers to encouraging the localisation of electric components. The central government plans not to continue the FAME policy of subsidising the purchase of electric two-wheelers after April 2024, and there are reports that it is also considering restrictions on imports of electronic components and other products from China, which could slow the rapid growth in demand for electric two-wheelers.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that demand for electric two-wheelers will continue to be strong even after the end of subsidies, if users appreciate their quality, safety and cost performance, in terms of excellent maintenance and running costs and advanced digital functions. Localisation and price reduction of key electric components such as drive motors, controllers and battery packs, while ensuring quality, is an urgent issue for the Indian electric motorcycle industry. In addition to government policies, the business strategies of existing major OEMs, leading electric two-wheeler manufacturers and suppliers will themselves influence the future direction of the electric two-wheeler industry.

In order to report on the current status and future prospects of the Indian electric two-wheeler industry, which will undergo radical changes from 2022, we analyse various perspectives, including industry policies, market trends, EV business of OEMs/emerging manufacturers, and electric component business of global and emerging suppliers, to provide an outlook of the Indian electric two-wheeler industry in 2035. To analyse the current status and challenges of the electric two-wheeler industry from various perspectives, including industrial policy, market trends, two-wheeler OEMs, emerging electric two-wheeler manufacturers, local and foreign suppliers, and to provide an outlook on the Indian electric two-wheeler industry in 2035.