Due to global shortage of semiconductors, electric two-wheelers are unable to reach full potential
Intense rivalry between Bajaj Chetak and TVS iQube continues, with the latter registering MoM growth of 20.19% in August. Sales are at 649 units. In comparison, Chetak sales are down to 364 units in August from 730 units in July 2021. That’s MoM loss of more than 50%. In YoY terms, Chetak has gained 89.58% in comparison to 192 units sold in August last year. iQube YoY growth is much higher at 2721.74%, as compared to 23 units sold in August last year.
iQube maintains lead in 2021
Taken together, Chetak and iQube have sales of 1,013 units in August. YoY growth is 371.16%, as compared to 215 units sold in August last year. MoM numbers are down by -20.24%, as compared to 1,270 units sold in July 2021.
Cumulatively, iQube is ahead of Chetak this year. During Jan-August period, iQube total sales are at 2,904 units in comparison to 2,355 units of Chetak. iQube was ahead in five months this year whereas Chetak has registered higher sales in April, May and July. iQube August sales are its highest ever this year. In comparison, Chetak highest sale this year was in July.
Shortage of semiconductors
Several auto companies including Bajaj are experiencing production constraints due to global shortage of semiconductors. Due to this, Chetak is only being sold in batches. Bookings are closed when a batch is sold out. The company had to close bookings multiple times since Chetak was launched last year in January.
Bookings are currently open for Chetak, but it will be closed again when the batch is sold out. Bajaj is not taking bulk bookings, as it does not want customers to be kept waiting for months.
Threat from new rivals
While there are several electric two-wheeler brands, Chetak and iQube are the only ones currently being manufactured by mainstream players. Normally, one would expect established players to achieve better results than start-ups. However, as things are unfolding now, it appears that start-ups and tech companies are taking the lead in electric two-wheeler segment.
As this is a technology-driven space, anyone with better technology has the potential to emerge a winner. In recent times, better equipped scooters such as Simple One and Ola Electric have been launched. Ola recently opened bookings for its S1 and S1 Pro scooters, which have clocked sales worth more than Rs 600 crore in a single day. This is likely to be a new record in electric two-wheeler segment.
These developments indicate that Chetak and iQube will have to prepare themselves for a tough fight ahead. They need to introduce consistent updates to improve overall customer experience. Things like range need to be increased whereas charging time should be reduced. Manufacturers also need to invest in developing battery charging infrastructure, so that customers can take their electric vehicles out on the streets without any doubts or concerns.