Mumbai: After industry bodies CII and SIAM reacted to the anticipated government plan of ensuring faster adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by suggesting 100% EVs for sale of three-wheelers by 2023 and two-wheelers below 150 cc by 2025, vehicle manufacturers such as TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto have now termed the plan as 'unrealistic' and 'impractical'.
TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto are both planning to launch electric two-wheelers later in FY20.
In an official statement, Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company said: “Automakers are supportive of the overall goal of introducing EVs 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. 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," Srinivasan added cautioning against potential disruption that the new government plans to usher in.
Meanwhile, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto underlined three key concerns including the incompetence of India’s automotive value chain to locally develop and produce electric vehicles. Notably, the development of EVs demands key R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the area of electrical and electronics domain, which, however, remains one of the biggest weaknesses of India’s automotive value chain.
“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 BS-VI implementation. And finally, to target two and three wheelers but not cars makes it an incomplete initiative," said Bajaj.
The Bajaj Auto MD added: “An appropriate middle path to my mind would be in the first phase to target such a changeover through Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ) norms/EVs for all vehicle categories from a particular date such as 2023 or 2025 starting with the most polluted cities of India. Based on the learnings from that experience a collective plan can be put together to scale up as desired."
Siddhartha Lal, MD, Eicher Motors has recently said that Royal Enfield will be an early follower in EVs than leading the development from the front. “We are still studying the business model on parameters such as price, weight, value and others. There is a whole new business model that will emerge with EVs. It has not matured yet for the bikes at the moment," he told investors last week.