Sales of electric passenger autos in India are expected to more than twofold to surpass 100,000 units for the first time in the following fiscal yr, with new models planned for debut by automakers ranging from Tata Motors to MG Motor India and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Passenger car sales in India are already increasing at a rapid pace, with 50,000 units expected in the current fiscal year ending March 2023, up from around 3,000 units three years ago. According to market trackers, the rate of progress may have been faster if there had been more options in the mainstream segment. While luxury carmakers sell about 15 EVs per year, options priced 20 lakhs and under are limited to two Tata Motors models: the Tigor and Nexon. Hyundai’s Kona and MG’s ZS EV are priced at ‘22.58-26.60 lakh.
Tata Motors, which controls around 90% of India’s electric passenger vehicle market, has received over 20,000 orders for the upcoming Tiago EV, with deliveries set to begin next month. According to the company, up to one-fourth of bookings are from first-time customers from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.
Tata Motors will release two further electric vehicles in the mainstream market in FY23. Rival Mahindra expects to do the same in January for the model XUV400 EV, while MG Motor India plans to launch the Air EV in the April-June quarter of 2023, priced between ‘11-15 lakh.
EV adoption in India has been more than expected, according to Tata Motors managing director Shailesh Chandra.
He stated, “We had not thought that we would be able to sell 50,000 EVs in such a short span of time. Today, it is more of a supply than a demand issue.”
He predicts that demand will rise as more electric vehicles with varying ranges, price points, and body types enter the market, as well as the development of additional charging infrastructure.
At the moment, electric vehicles account for 8.5% of Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle sales. With the Tiago EV, which costs upwards of ‘8.49 lakh, this is set to improve to 10%. Chandra is confident that if the company electrifies its whole portfolio, it will generate at least one-quarter of its revenues from electric vehicles.
Tata Motors intends to launch up to ten electric vehicles during the next five years. According to Rajesh Jejurikar, Mahindra’s government director for the automotive and agricultural gear sector, the company anticipates electric passenger autos to account for one-fourth of its portfolio over the next five years.
According to Chetan Maini, Co-founder and Chairman of Sun Mobility, the Indian government’s passion for e-mobility is laudable, but the timing of some of the legislation it has implemented is off. With 50-plus EV businesses in the country, thousands of EV parts producers, and more on the way, Maini feels the sector has evolved into a totally different beast that requires a different approach than regulators have taken thus far.
“You know… regulators are truly trying to do as much as they can. But it’s hard for the government also because there are all these technologies coming from different centers, and they don’t have a perspective of each thing,” says Maini.
The government’s stance toward the EV field today is vastly different from what it was in the 1990s when Maini released Reva, a pioneering electric vehicle built and engineered by Maini.
In many respects, Reva launched the e-mobility movement by being the first electric vehicle to enter the public consciousness in the country. More importantly, it demonstrated that a good Indian electric vehicle could be made in India, eliminating the need to seek the West.