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COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacts electric vehicles sales, causes record decline in FY21

New EV registrations declined by 20 percent but sales of electric passenger vehicles jumped 54 percent during FY21.

April 22, 2021 / 02:46 PM IST
The supply of lithium-ion battery packs got impacted in FY21 due to the pandemic

The supply of lithium-ion battery packs got impacted in FY21 due to the pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic severely crippled the auto industry, and the disruption had its impact on demand for electric cars, electric two-wheelers and electric three-wheelers.

As per the Society of Electric Vehicle Manufacturers (SMEV) registration of all electric vehicles during FY21 declined 20 percent to 236,802 units as against 295,683 units sold in FY20.

Electric two-wheelers (E2W), the largest segment of the three, witnessed a decline of 6 percent. Electric two-wheeler volumes closed FY21 at 143,837 units as compared to 152,000 sold in FY20. A total of 40,836 high-speed and 103,000 low-speed E2Ws were sold during FY21.

Electric three-wheelers (E3W) saw the maximum impact of the pandemic just like the fossil-fuel powered three-wheeler segment. The E3W segment registered sales of 88,378 units, a fall of 37 percent as against 140, 683 units sold in FY20. The data does not include E3Ws that are not registered with the transport authority, SMEV clarified.

Sohinder Gill, Director-General, SMEV said, “We were anticipating a good growth before the start of FY21 but sales remained stagnant due to various reasons. The sales in the electric three-wheeler and two-wheeler segment stood low as compared to last year. The city speed and high-speed category in the two-wheelers have witnessed growth.”

However, electric passenger vehicles beat the trend, registering a growth. During FY21, electric passenger vehicles grew by 54 percent to 4,588 units as against 3,000 units in FY20. The sales were split in just six models Tata Nexon EV, Tata Tigor EV, Mahindra eVerito, MG ZS EV, Hyundai Kona and the Mercedes-Benz EQC.

Tata Motors is the leader in the electric passenger vehicle segment with the Nexon EV being the best-selling model in the industry followed by the MG ZS EV.

The supply of lithium-ion battery packs got impacted in FY21 due to the pandemic and remained disrupted for several weeks. This was followed by a clampdown by the government on shipments coming from China which again crippled the battery supply. India depends on China, which has a monopoly in lithium-ion cells, for making battery packs.

SMEV blamed the lack of interest shown by banks to finance electric vehicles. “Only a few banks like SBI and Axis, to name a few, are offering loans on selected models. The government should ask banks to offer loans on electric vehicles, which will augment sales,” SMEV said in a release.

During FY21, the government allowed registration of electric vehicles without their batteries which was a step taken to boost sales of battery swapping technology. Only a handful of players, mainly engaged in electric two-wheelers, make vehicles with battery swapping technology.

SMEV further stated that the demand from the e-commerce players such as Flipkart and Amazon would boost sales of electric two and three-wheelers over the next two-three years.

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first published: Apr 22, 2021 02:46 pm