Indian two-wheeler brands like TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto have raised concerns about the deadline set by the government for the mass adoption of electric two- and three-wheelers. While both manufacturers agree with the initiative and are supportive of the goal, they say that the deadline set by the Indian government is unrealistic and impractical. The Government of India reportedly plans to mandate 100% EVs for sale of two-wheelers by 2025 and three-wheelers by 2023.
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In a statement released by TVS Motor Company, the company’s 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.
Speaking about the risks to the manufacturing in India, Srinivasan added:
The auto industry globally is still a long way away from all of this, as is India. 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.
Raising concerns about the execution of the plans set by the government, Bajaj Auto's Managing Director, Rajiv Bajaj, said:
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 is ill-timed to target a date so close to BS VI implementation. And finally, to target two- and three-wheelers but not cars etc makes it an incomplete initiative.
Presenting a middle path that would work for both, the manufacturers and the Government, Bajaj added:
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.
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Both Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company are working on electric two-wheelers that are likely to arrive in the current fiscal. Test mules of the upcoming Bajaj electric scooters, which will be launched under the Urbanite brand, have been spotted on various occasions in the recent past.
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