By Md Waquar Haider
New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) With a renewed thrust from the government on making electric vehicles (EVs) in coming years, the EV startups have taken a definite head start, introducing e-scooters in stunning finishes and top-of-the-line technology on the roads.
The number of EV startups has increased dramatically in the last couple of years in the country, and brands like Ather Energy, Ola Electric, Okinawa, Bounce and more are expanding their lineup with modern, compelling products.
The startups have introduced new-age technologies, invested in R&D, prioritised understanding customer expectations and acknowledged the riders’ concerns.
Ather Energy registered its best-ever monthly sales numbers in October this year, with a 12-fold growth over last year and achieving revenue run rate of $100 million.
“We have also been registering 20 per cent month-on-month sales growth since November 2020. To support this significant surge in demand, we recently commissioned our second manufacturing facility which will help us expand our manufacturing capacity to 400,000 units,” Tarun Mehta, Co-founder and CEO, Ather Energy, told IANS.
“We have committed to invest Rs 650 crore in the next five years to further enhance operational efficiency and production capacity. Furthermore, we aim to strengthen our retail footprint and plan to expand to around 150 Experience Centres in 100 cities by March 2023,” Mehta informed.
The two-wheeler industry, especially ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) scooters, witnessed limited product innovation in the past two decades, creating an ideal environment for new players to emerge and thrive.
The Indian consumers now seek modern, compelling vehicles that provide a reliable and hassle-free ownership experience. Emerging EV startups have done exactly that by working relentlessly to provide this at scale.
EV scooter sales have more than tripled in 2021 with more than 1.2 lakh units sold in the first half of the year and the two-wheeler EVs alone have the potential to account for almost 40 per cent of the market in the next three-four years.
“This is just the beginning and we are certain that the industry will soon switch to EV mobility with more options available in the market,” said Vivekananda Hallekere, CEO and co-founder, Bounce.
According to the India Energy storage Alliance (IESA), by 2027, India’s EV market is predicted to have grown to over 63 lakh units per year.
Hallekere told IANS that the startup is utilising learnings of operating over 22 crore km on scooters and working in line with over 5 million two-wheeler users in the country who might soon opt for EV.
“At Bounce, we will continue to invest in technology and innovation, which helps us stay ahead of the curve. We remain committed to build a comprehensive ecosystem for a sustainable future with an objective to play a significant role in new-age mobility solutions,” Hallekere informed.
The government has undertaken multiple initiatives to promote manufacturing and adoption of electric vehicles in India. The ‘Go Electric’ campaign has paved the way for several states to come forward and develop policies that further encourage the end users to adopt EVs in their lives.
As a result, numerous governments have lately announced special EV policies, including Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, which is a positive start.
As the Indian environment for electric two-wheelers improves, global two-wheeler firms are also preparing to take the leap into the electric vehicle market.
“Though the electric vehicle business is still in its infancy, it seems to be the Indian automotive industry’s future. In India, the demand for electric two-wheelers has been expanding in recent months, and overall electric two-wheeler volumes are predicted to reach new heights in 2022,” said Jeetender Sharma, MD and founder of Okinawa Autotech.
A strong push towards adoption of electric mobility and scaling up requisite infrastructure by the government has aided the penetration of electric vehicles in India.
“Also, operating cost for an ICE two-wheeler in the last two-three years has jumped significantly with rise in petrol prices in the country, which is shifting focus towards electric two-wheelers as a pragmatic and economical mode of commuting,” said Hallekere.
To make things relevant to the Indian consumer, startups have also built an ecosystem and created high-performance localised products.
“Fiscal incentives offered by central and state governments and entry of new players in the market is further enhancing awareness and providing customers a range of options across multiple price points,” Mehta added.
(Md Waquar Haider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)