Electric bikes — is this the future of the Indian two-wheelers scene?

“Glowing Scooter” by sightmybyblinded is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Not long ago, the only electric two-wheelers available in the country were low-cost rebranded Chinese imports. That has changed, and it has changed dramatically: we now have some premium solutions with remarkable performance metrics. A survey of the 11 main electric two-wheeler manufacturers in India conducted in July 2021 found that more units were sold in the first six months of 2021 (29,288 units) than in the entire year 2020. (25,598 units). However, important contributors to this list were offers from Hero Electric, Okinawa, and Ampere that are essentially lower-spec, China-sourced scooters. Not only that, but sales of the Bajaj Chetak and TVS iQube have increased. Since March, the Chetak has sold 1,723 units, compared to 1,395 units in the previous fiscal year. Meanwhile, the TVS iQube has been purchased by 1,486 people, up from 1,061 in FY2021. If Ola Electric and Simple Energy can translate their excellent booking numbers to sales, EV sales figures could be blown out of the water.

The Ultraviolette F77 is another exciting electric vehicle that is set to join the market shortly. The TVS-backed start-up recently announced the establishment of its first manufacturing and assembly facility near Bangalore’s Electronic City. The production of its electric motorcycle, the F77, is expected to commence in 2022, with the first batch of motorcycles hitting the market in March 2022. Hero MotoCorp just teased its future electric scooter. The company has numerous options, including ones with battery-swapping technology developed in collaboration with Gogoro. Ola Electric joined the market with its S1 and S1 Pro scooters, claiming to be game-changers. They appear to be quite promising on paper. Ola claims to have received over 1 lakh bookings in the first 24 hours, and if those are converted into sales, it has the potential to completely transform the two-wheeler business. Ola Electric, on the other hand, has yet to produce its scooter, and you can expect to hear more about it on our website in the near future. Simple Energy was another start-up that just unveiled its future electric scooter. The One is a scooter that offers remarkable performance and range on paper.

LML also recently revealed ambitions to re-enter the Indian market, this time with an electric two-wheeler. While no specifics are available, the company intends to launch a “revolutionary product for the upper-middle and urban portions of society.” KTM and Husqvarna are developing similar-spec electric two-wheelers, which will most likely be manufactured in India. It remains to be seen, however, if these will be launched into our market. Electric two-wheelers are gradually carving out a larger market share, and the government has played a role in enabling this expansion. However, with an expanding number of electric two-wheelers on the market, it is critical for the government to ensure that support is extended to the appropriate models. To that end, it launched the FAME II plan in 2019, which included eligibility conditions such as a minimum range of 80 km and a top speed of 40kph.