Electric car sales in India declined by 40 per cent in 2018

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Only 2,60,000 electric vehicles (EVs) have hit Indian roads, majority being two-wheelers. In contrast, China had a stock of 1.8 million EVs and 258 million e-bikes at the end of 2018.

This year, however, will be an important year as the final version of the National Auto Policy and the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme will be released.

“The question is the timing: Will it be before or after the elections? Will the Modi government change tack if it is not re-elected? Will this ambiguity continue to deter wider adoption? Automakers seem to have realised that EV adoption is not a question of ‘if.’ For instance, Maruti Suzuki, the largest automaker in India, will launch an electric version of one of its best-selling entry-segment cars the Wagon R in Q1 2019,” Wood Mackenzie said.

Another key challenge will be stakeholder management and coordination across the different ministries, government bodies and industry participants while the policy is formalised.

Stating that two-wheelers will dominate the electric mobility landscape in the personal transport sector, Wood Mackenzie said India offers huge potential for automakers as car ownership levels are very low (23 per 1,000 capita).

Rising income levels will increase car ownership and most global automakers are closely watching this lucrative market. At the same time, two-wheelers should not be ignored with current ownership six times larger than four-wheelers.

“We believe that two-wheelers are the more effective option given their utility in intra-city travel, less need for public charging infrastructure and availability of battery technology. Two-wheelers will eventually leapfrog four-wheelers towards the goal of a greener and sustainable mobility future,” Wood Mackenzie added.