Registrations of electric two-wheelers fell nearly 27 percent in May, compared to April
Rising fuel prices and increased cost of petrol powered two wheelers turned buyer’s attention towards electric scooters in India. These e-scooters not only allow buyers to save on fuel costs but also relate to lower cost of maintenance and come in with several State and Central Government subsidies.
Sales of electric scooters took off at a grand start. Sales escalated to percentage increases unseen by petrol powered scooter OEMs, causing many such manufacturers to venture into the electric arena. While things went well for a few months, they declined in May 2022.
One of the main reasons for the decline of sales is the huge shortage of semiconductor chips. Another reason could also be because of recent electric scooter fire incidents. Numerous electric scooters have been involved in fire hazards across India in the past month causing buyers to be more cautious in their purchases. Govt also took notice, and brought electric two wheeler makers such as Okinawa, Ola, Pure EV and Boom Motors under some surveillance.
Ola, Hero Electric, Okinawa Post Sales De-Growth
Ola, Hero Electric and Okinawa, the leaders in the e-scooter segment, have noted a substantial decrease in sales in May 2022. Ola has slipped to No 2, after taking the No 1 spot in April 2022. Ola Electric still dominates the segment even as sales dipped 31.66 percent MoM to 8,681 units in May 2022, down from 12,702 units sold in April 2022. This was a volume de-growth of 4,021 units.
Okinawa sales also dipped as much as 19.28 percent to 8,888 units in the past month, down 2,123 units over 11,011 units sold in April 2022. Hero Electric has posted the maximum MoM de-growth of 58.36 percent to 2,739 units in May 2022, down from 6,578 units sold in April 2022. Hero Electric seems to have been affected the most due to parts shortage. Just two months ago, they were the No 1 electric scooter brand in India. Hero Electric aims to bounce back to No 1 soon.
Ampere also posted a MoM decline by 15.46 percent to 5,529 units in May 2022, down from 6,540 units sold in April 2022 leading to volume de-growth of 1,011 units. Ather Energy, on the other hand, recorded its highest monthly sales to date. The company has seen sales of its e-scooters increase 26.45 percent to 3,098 units in the past month, up from 2,450 units sold in April 2022. The company sells the Ather 450X and 450 Plus in the market. TVS Motor has also seen 2,637 units of the i-Qube sold in May 2022 while Bajaj Auto has noted good sales of its Chetak e-scooter in the past month expanding sales to more cities in in the country.
E-Scooter Fire Hazards and Recalls
Pure EV has issued a voluntary recall of 2,000 models of ETrance Plus and EPluto 7G while Okinawa Autotech has also announced a recall of 3,215 units of the Praise Pro. At the end of March 2022 a unit of Ola S1 Pro caught fire in Pune and the company issued a recall of 1,441 electric scooters to fix the issue. This draws attention to added research into battery chemistries, and management systems along with cell constructions to avoid such instances in the future.
The Government of India is conducting further investigations into these electric fires and is set to announce a new policy to ensure better quality of batteries and Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, has also confirmed that the government will list out strict rules for EV quality.