The last fiscal was a mixed bag for electric mobility in India. According to industry reports, electric car sales dropped 40 per cent in financial year 2017-18 in comparison to 2016-17, whereas electric two-wheeler sales jumped 138 in the same period. By the end of March 2018, there were 56,000 electric vehicles plying the streets in India, as per the data from the Society of Manfacturers of Electric Vehicles. Out of this, 54,800 were electric two-wheelers, whereas there were only 1,200 electric cars on the roads.
In FY16, 20,000 electric two-wheelers were sold in the country, which increased to Rs 23,000 units in FY17, according to the data. In the same year, 2,000 e-cars were sold and remained stagnant in FY17. In FY16 there were only 22,000 electric vehicles on the roads, which rose to 25,000 in FY17 and to 56,000 units in FY18, show the data.
The steadily rising number of electric vehicles in the country indicates that the people are accepting them as an economical as well as a environment-friendly mode of transportation, according to Sohinder Gill, director of corporate affairs at the Society of Manfacturers of Electric Vehicles
“Most manufacturers have started using lithium-ion batteries, which has increased the performance of e-two wheelers and has helped in gaining consumer confidence. But the absence of adequate finance mechanism, price gap between an e-two-wheelers and petrol variants, awareness among citizens are challenges which need immediate redressal,” Gill said.
As for the sharp decline in electric cars sales, Gill holds “lack of infrastructure, ambiguity over policy” responsible, which he believes are the major deterrents for growth. For the current fiscal, industry experts are confident about the volumes picking up. The expectations are that electric vehicle sales will grow this financial year, especially in the electric two-wheeler segment and the sector is estimated to perform better than last year.
It can be noted that the Centre is pushing electric mobility under Energy Efficiency Services, which had ordered 10,000 e-cars. The first phase of delivery of 500 units has been completed by Tata Motors and Mahindra. But the government organisations which picked them up are said to be unhappy with their performance due to low durability of the batteries.
The EESL is an energy service company set up by the Centre and is the world’s largest such PSU. Fully owned by the government owned, it is a joint venture of state-owned NTPC, Power Finance Corporation, REC and PowerGrid.
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