Will COVID-19 Gear Up Positive Future of India’s EV Industry?

The year 2020 has touted to be an inflection point for many industries worldwide, and the electric vehicle industry has been no exception. As the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped several business operations worldwide, the electric vehicles industry in India is looking at the opportunity of growth. According to reports, the global electric vehicle and electric vehicle infrastructure market in the post-pandemic period is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22.1% from an estimated 3.42 million units in 2020 to 4.18 million units by 2021. To this growth, India is expected to be a significant contributor, reports claim.

Currently, public transportation, including cabs, metro, and buses, has been put on hold to comply with the government-mandated nationwide lockdown. This is likely to change the mobility system in the country.

The demand of EVs is also expected to be progressed because most Indians would likely prefer private vehicles in the sense to minimize not being exposed to the virus. This is why they would look for alternative options in the way of cost-efficient and safer, leading to them to think once about electric vehicles, be it electric scooters or cars. Thanks to their low price and extremely low running costs besides ease of use, and low maintenance.

Shift from Traditional Mobility to Electric Mobility

According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), electric vehicle sales, excluding e-rickshaws, in India grew by 20 percent at 1.56 lakh units during 2019-20, mostly driven by two-wheelers. In the fiscal year 2020, out of total EV sales, 1.52 lakh units were two-wheelers, 3,400 cars and 600 buses, the society noted. On the sales performance, Sohinder Gill, SMEV Director General and CEO of Hero Electric said, “The EV industry is taking shape and we believe that despite the COVID-19, FY20-21 will be a defining year for all the EV segments.”

The transition towards electric mobility from conventional mobility options offers not only an opportunity to improve efficiency, but bring transformation to the transportation sector with the alleviation of greenhouse gas emissions.

This is the right time to deploy and stimulate the adoption of smarter and sustainable mobility solutions as the ongoing lockdown in the country has impacted more on the environment. Considering reports, the capital New Delhi is witnessed air pollution plunge to unforeseen levels at 60 percent. According to Sohinder Gill, ‘the latest Harvard report of the adverse effect of air pollution, particularly the PM 2.5 emitted from IC vehicles, on Covid-19 patients is an eye opener.’

“Given the upcoming ‘new normal’ era consumer focus on sustainable mobility options preference of sensibly priced electric two-wheelers and reluctance in going back to the overcrowded public transport system, Hero Electric foresees an exponential increase in the number of electric vehicles on road post lockdown,” Gill said.

Moreover, the World Economic Forum and Ola Electric emphasized that the Indian automobile industry is one of the fastest-growing markets around the world, but it still just makes up 0.5 percent of the global EV market. Thus the country needs to come on par with China, the USA and Japan in terms of the manufacturing and sales of passenger and commercial electric vehicles.