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Sales of electric two-wheelers declined by 5.4% year-on-year to 25,735 units in 2020 in India due to the covid-led economic slowdown, shows data released by the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV). Supply of vehicles, too, was impacted due to disruptions in importing components from China.

“While the electric two-wheeler industry has been able to weather the covid pandemic with the sale of high-speed electric two-wheelers, clocking 25,735 in 2020, as against 27,224 units sold in the previous calendar year, the ambitious target of generating sales of 1 million vehicles under FAME 2 is nowhere in sight," the industry body said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicle (FAME) scheme has not been successful as most of the electric two-wheelers sold in the market do not qualify for subsidies under the scheme due to high threshold level.

According to SMEV, cumulative sales of such zero-emission two-wheelers since January 2019 was at 52,959 units, but only 31,813 units qualified for incentives under FAME.

According to Sohinder Gill, director general, SMEV, the scheme could not attract customers to shift from the polluting petrol bikes to electric two-wheelers mainly because the preconditions and qualification criteria under the scheme made the bikes unaffordable to the mass market customer despite the subsidy.

“Despite the setback, the electric two-wheeler industry is seeing a positive sentiment and high level of interest from customers. If FAME 2 is rejigged to remove the needless handicaps, the adoption can grow exponentially within a short time. Hence, we urge the government to come up with corrective measures that would help the industry achieve the envisaged sales target of 1 million electric two-wheelers," Gill said.

In its bid to promote electric vehicles in India, the Narendra Modi government has earmarked 10,000 crore till 2022, as part of the FAME 2 scheme. The government is expected to support more than 150,000 units of electric vehicles across segments. Under FAME 2, 1 million two-wheelers, 500,000 three-wheelers, 55,000 four-wheelers and 7,000 buses will be included.

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