Against the backdrop of the series of fuel price hikes, it’s no surprise that electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise. But the growth rate is higher than expected, according to the recent sales figures shared by the Federation of Automobile Dealership Associations of India (FADA). According to the statistics, the EV space collectively saw a 257 percent year-on-year growth in the last fiscal year. Not surprisingly, Tata Motors registered the highest sales, having crossed the 3,000-vehicle mark (3,324) in sales last fiscal, registering a 60 percent month-on-month growth and a staggering 331 percent growth in the passenger EV segment. MG Motors came in second, having sold 2,045 vehicles on the back of its sole EV offering, the MG ZS, which saw the brand grow by a solid 83 percent, almost doubling the sales figure of 1,115 in FY21.
The luxury end of the spectrum saw growth, with Audi topping with a 129 percent month-on-month growth in March 2022, having sold 74 cars in the same month of the previous year. Audi managed to beat Mercedes-Benz thanks to a more extensive line-up of five models, despite Mercedes-Benz having been in India’s passenger EV space since 2020.
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The sales boom is due to a variety of factors, from the availability of a greater number of products in the market to the variety of state and central subsidies greenlit under FAME II scheme and, of course, the rise in fuel prices. The phenomenon isn’t unique to India. In the US, the first quarter of 2022 witnessed a sharp uptick in EV sales led by Tesla and Volvo. Much like the Indian market, soaring fuel prices saw a decline in overall passenger car sales in the US as well. In the Indian market, total vehicle sales decreased by 3 percent in March 2022 over March 2021 and a significant 30 percent compared to March 2020.
While India’s steady shift towards EVs is encouraging, it lags other major markets like China and the US, hoping for a 27 percent market penetration by 2030, against an EV market share of 40 percent in China and 52 percent in the US as of 2030. According to a report by BloombergNEF, EVs in India are looking at a market penetration of 53 percent by 2040.
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Sales of electric two-wheelers saw steady growth as well with a grand total of 2,31,338 units sold in the last fiscal year. Hero Electric led the charge, as it were, having sold 65,303 units and recording a staggering 342 percent growth on an annualised basis. Ather Energy, positioned as a more premium brand, also witnessed an impressive 354 percent growth, having sold 15,570 more units than it did in the previous fiscal year (4,401). At present, Hero Electric along with Okinawa Autotech, Ampere Electric, Ather Energy and Pure Energy occupy 74 percent of the market with Okinawa, Ather, Ampere and the like having eaten into Hero’s formerly 65 percent market share, bringing it down to 35.99 percent this year.
The commercial electric three-wheeler (e3W) segment continues to remain the second fastest growing segment in year-on-year percentage growth terms. The last fiscal saw commercial e3Ws clock 451 percent growth, with Kinetic Green Energy & Power surging ahead with a scarcely believable 8230 percent growth, having sold 823 units more than it did in the previous fiscal year when it sold 10 units. Tata Motors continues to have a steady presence here as well, recording a 79 percent year-on-year growth. Tata Motors, along with Kinetic Green Energy & Power, JBM Auto, Olectra Greentech and PMI Electro Mobility Solutions make up the top five commercial EV manufacturers in the country.