Companies

Global two-wheeler brands plan EV plunge in India

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on October 18, 2021

Players undertake feasibility studies, explore ecosystem

Global two-wheeler brands operating in India are gearing up for electric vehicle plunge as the ecosystem for electric two-wheelers continue to improve in the country.

Though the EV market is still at an evolutionary stage, it appears to be the future of the automobile sector. Last few months saw growing momentum for electric two-wheelers in India and FY22 is expected to see total electric two-wheeler volumes surpass the one-lakh mark.

At present, electric two-wheeler sales in the country are fuelled by a few start-ups and many of them have made a mark with their technology and products.

However, most of the traditional players also have EVs ready or are getting them ready. Electric two-wheelers are expected to have a higher penetration (along with 3W) on account of several factors such as lower initial purchase prices as the battery size can be smaller to take care of a normal daily running of 30-50 km, ease of taking closer to one's home for charging or even carrying the battery home for charging or swapping the same without the use of a robotic arm.

Traditional players

“It is expected the traditional players will also come out with their offerings and will leverage their brand, network, ability to engineer robust products for the myriad road conditions, etc. to gain a strong position in the EV segment,” says Ashim Sharma, Partner & Group Head Business Performance Improvement Consulting at Nomura Research Institute.

Home-grown ICE players such as TVS Motor and Bajaj have entered the segment with their electric scooters. Now, global players like Honda and Yamaha are undertaking feasibility studies and examining the evolving ecosystem here for their entry into the segment.

Considering the sheer volumes generated by the world's largest two-wheeler market, it can be said that start-ups have just begun scratching the surface as they lay down a stronger foundation for electric mobility, which can be classified into 3 categories — vehicle manufacturing, EV charge and battery swap infrastructure and services, says Motofumi Shitara, Chairman, Yamaha Motor India Group.

Investment challenges

Global two-wheeler brands point out that though there is a favourable ecosystem supported by policy framework with attractive subsidy and incentive schemes, there are bigger challenges related to investments.

“We are contemplating on factors like pricing, performance, and infrastructure before we roll out any products for the Indian market. Mainly since the success of EVs solely depends on the acceptance of customers at large, which is only possible with proper availability of infrastructure, universal charging stations, battery production and swapping infrastructure for electric vehicles,” Shitara adds.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) says the company certainly has plans to make its presence in the EV ecosystem in the country. “The results of the on-going feasibility test are a work-in-progress. Some areas need to be worked out and post that we will surely be able to share more details on our plans. For now, we hope to present an electric two-wheeler in the next financial year,” states Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director, Sales & Marketing of HMSI, the top player in the ICE-based scooter market in India.

Electric scooters have emerged as the ideal choice to start with for EV play as metros and cities would be the early adopters of electric scooters.

Published on October 18, 2021

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