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Indian electric mobility sector recovers post-lockdown

India is pushing to meet its target to have one million electric two-wheelers on road by March 2022 under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme. The electric mobility sector suffered from a post lockdown-induced dip in sales but is on the road to recovery.

The electric vehicle segment sold 135,000 units of EVs in the last financial year (2020-21), according to a news report. Two-wheeler and three-wheeler EVs made up for nearly 96% of the sales during this period. Three-wheeler EVs made up about 65% of all EV registrations. The two-wheeler EVs contributed around 30% of all EV registrations during the same period. The two-wheeler EVs sold during this period only includes the ones with speeds greater than or equal to 25 kmph.

The report explained that while Delhi has taken several steps to promote electric vehicles with its EV policy, it does not figure as one of the top EV markets in India yet. The top three spots are owned by the states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Karnataka.

Uttar Pradesh alone contributed 23% of the country’s sales, with 31,584 EVs sold in FY21. The top 10 states together made 88% of all EVs sold in India. Tripura, however, leads with the highest share of EVs per 1,000 internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, with 52 EVs sold for every 1,000 ICE vehicles in FY21.

An industry expert said that electric mobility is poised to be at the forefront of India’s green recovery. In the coming years, the Central and state governments need to reduce uncertainty by rolling out detailed and clear long-term policies. Further, targeted efforts are needed to solve critical challenges such as higher upfront cost of EVs, lack of end-user financing, consumer range anxiety, and inaccessible charging.

The report highlighted that electric vehicle registrations formed 0.88% of all vehicle registrations in India during the period, which is the highest share ever achieved. Since 2011-12, India has added over 638,000 electric vehicles on the road so far.

FAME’S second phase has achieved only 4.25% of its sales targets till now. One of the major barriers could likely be that buyers are not aware of the incentives available, like user subsidies and significant exemptions from road tax and registration fees.

Another important aspect in electric mobility, which has remained a concern for all, is the charging infrastructure. India still has less than a thousand EV charging stations across the country. Among them, Andhra Pradesh leads other states with 433 public charging stations. Telangana with 160 and Karnataka with 126 public EV charging stations are placed second and third. Delhi features at fourth with only 78 public EV charging stations.

Recently, the Minister of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari claimed that lithium-ion batteries are to be manufactured fully in the country over the next six months. India is set to become the number one EV maker in the world soon. He said that the government is also working to launch hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology. It uses chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical energy, eliminating the use of fossil fuels. E-mobility will be an important tool to develop pollution-free transport.

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