The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) has said 236,802 electric vehicles (EV) were sold in India in financial year (FY) 2020-21, registering a drop of 20% over the sales for FY 2019-20. The EV units sold included electric two-wheelers (E2W), electric three-wheelers (E3W), and electric four-wheelers (E4W).
In its report, SMEV said that in the previous financial year, 295,683 EV units were sold.
A drop in sales was expected, given the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the subsequent lockdowns. Mercom had reported that manufacturing and sales activity in the EV segment were adversely affected by the pandemic in the first half of 2020 due to the lockdown and exodus of the workforce from the cities.
However, 2020 was a good year for the EV industry in terms of funding. During the year, the top five funding deals accounted for ₹4.7 billion (~$62.49 million).
For FY21, the E2W segment registered sales of 143,837 vehicles, including 40,836 high-speed and 103,000 low-speed E2W. In the previous financial year, the sales figures for the same segment were 152,000 units, thus showing a decline of 6% in the E2W segment.
The E3W segment registered sales of 88,378 units as against 140,683 units sold in FY20. The data does not include E3Ws that are not registered with the transport authority.
In the E4W segment, the industry witnessed registration of 4,588 units, compared to 3,000 units in FY20.
Commenting on the sales figures, SMEV Director-General Sohinder Gill said, “We were anticipating a good growth before the start of FY21, but sales remained stagnant due to various reasons. The sales in the electric three-wheeler and two-wheeler segment stood low as compared to last year.”
“A good thing has happened that people have started moving towards advanced lithium-ion batteries and the city-speed and high-speed category in the two-wheeler segment have witnessed growth,” he said.
Gill said that timely policy interventions by the government were required to fuel growth and achieve the target by the end of FY22 under the FAME II program. 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.
According to SMEV, a strong financing mechanism by banks for EVs is still missing in the country, with only a few banks like SBI and Axis Bank offering loans on select models.
However, the future of EV in the B2B sector is encouraging, considering that the e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart, and other corporates are adopting and transitioning to EVs. SMEV said a lot of traction from the sector is expected in the next two to three years.
The EV industry body also pointed out that while many states have rolled out their EV policy, some states are yet to implement it. It also suggested that early implementation of state-level policy focused on demand generation for the initial period would help in getting more volumes on the road.
Regarding charging station infrastructure, SMEV said that around 1,300 charging stations have been set up until now and predicted a robust charging infrastructure in the country in the next five-six years.