India electric vehicle sales double in year to March on govt green subsidy

An Indian electric vehicle manufacturer showcases e-scooter models in New Delhi.

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA - Electric vehicle sales in India more than doubled to 130,620 units in fiscal 2019 that ended in March, up from 56,150 units the previous year, backed by government subsidies promoting green mobility, according to data from the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV).

However, one industry official expects a pullback as the government is now encouraging purchases of low-emission vehicles with bigger battery capacity, rather than the low-power e-scooters the majority of consumers favor.

Electric two-wheelers recorded sales of 126,000 units in the last fiscal year, up from 54,800 units in fiscal 2018, while sales of electric four-wheelers including hybrids jumped to 4,620 from 1,350, according to industry data made available to NNA and local media.

Sales were supported by the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) program, under which the government subsidizes retail price discounts on electric vehicles, according to Sohinder Gill, director general of the industry group.

“FAME was certainly a good catalyst in this doubling of sales,” Gill told NNA on Thursday, but he quickly added that the growth is likely to be short-lived.

He expects sales of electric two-wheelers to drop 50 percent from the current level in the year to March 2020 due to a change in how subsidies are being distributed.

The Indian government has cut cash incentives for buyers of popular, low-powered electric scooters by offering deeper discounts on vehicles with higher battery capacity under phase two of the program called FAME II, which took effect on April 1.

NNA Report