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Two-wheeler makers feel EV switchover by 2025 impractical

FE Bureau
Two-wheeler makers feel EV switchover by 2025 impractical (Representative image)

Two-wheeler majors such as TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto have expressed their displeasure over the Union government s move to mandate mass adoption of electric two and three-wheelers in a short span of time, which they consider unrealistic and have sought gradual adoption. However, they support the government s ambitious programme.

In a press statement here on Monday, TVS Motor chairman Venu Srinivasan said, Automakers everywhere are supportive of the overall goal of introducing electric vehicles (EV) and easing consumers into electric mobility. As a result we have been doing serious development work to ensure we can offer a mass market EV product that delivers on safety and high performance.

This is necessary to co-opt consumers into making a switch, so it s driven by consumer willingness and, therefore, adopted easily and widely. The supporting infrastructure for charging also needs to be as robust as conventional fuel options. The auto industry globally is still a long way away from all of this, as is India, he said.

To force an unrealistic deadline for mass adoption of electric two- and three-wheelers will not just create consumer discontent, it risks derailing auto-manufacturing in India that supports 4 million jobs. We need gradual and seamless adoption of EVs to avoid such collateral damage and ensure our technology-driven disruption is positive and lasting, he pointed out.

According to Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj, On the reported initiative of the Union government mandating 100% EVs for sale of 3W by 2023 and 2W by 2025, I completely agree with the spirit of this initiative in that India must demonstrate a pioneer rather than laggard mindset.

However, I have three execution-related concerns. First that it may be impractical to target such a scale when none of the stakeholders currently possess any meaningful experience with any of the pieces of the EV puzzle. Secondly that it s ill-timed to target a date so close to BS6 implementation. And finally, to target two- and three-wheelers but not cars and other modes makes it an incomplete initiative.

An appropriate middle path to my mind would be in the first phase to target such a changeover through Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) norms/electric vehicles for all vehicle categories from a particular date such as 2023 or 2025, starting with the most polluted cities of India. Basis the learnings from that experience a collective plan can be put together to scale up as desired, Bajaj emphasised.

Ravneet Phokela, chief business officer, Ather Energy, a pure play EV two-wheeler player, said, The Union government has been aggressively promoting electric vehicles in the past few months. With FAME 2, we saw high-performance electric vehicles being given priority and Make in India . The government had already showcased its intent by subsidising commercial electric 4Ws as a part of the notification. So, the latest orders to cab aggregators prove that the Indian government is working aggressively to move the mobility sector as a whole to electric. Along with bigger changes to the landscape, smaller initiatives like a waiver of the registration fee for EVs, the central government continues to offer all the fiscal incentives that are under their purview.

As Ather expands its operations, we are keen to see state governments offering the same support for manufacturing and sales of electric vehicles. Our Bengaluru owners have been enjoying the benefit of zero road tax instead of the traditional 18%. Similar incentives by the state government will see EV adoption increase in their constituencies and will help consumers and OEMs alike, he added.