EV sales in India: 1.97 million of 2.5 million units since 2014 sold in past 29 months
As India makes the shift to e-mobility, the pace of EV adoption has grown rapidly with consumers and businesses recognising the economic gains of zero-emission transport. Since 2021, demand has accelerated with OEMs rolling out new products even as the charging network expands.
Today, June 5, is World Environment Day and 2023 marks 50 years since it was initiated. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and held each year since 1973, World Environment Day is the largest global platform for environment public outreach. Climate change and its devastating impacts are already being seen and nature is in emergencu mode. India is doing its bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the transition to eco-friendly electric vehicles is one example.
EV sales in India have been on the upswing and charged past the million-units milestone for the first time in FY2023, recording 155% growth. FY2024 bids fair to maintain the same momentum – retail sales in May 2023 have surpassed 150,000 units for the first time, with the 100,000-unit mark being crossed for the eighth month in a row.
Cumulative retail sales of electric vehicles in India, since calendar year 2014, have gone past the 25 lakh or 2.5 million-units mark. As per data available on the government’s Vahan website, which records new vehicle registrations from 34 states and Union Territories, a total of 25,43,713 EVs have been sold in the country over the past nine-and-a-half years.
While demand for e-mobility was tepid in the initial years, the sharpened focus of the government towards the EV sector and eco-system, EV OEMs across vehicle segments expanding their product portfolio, and component suppliers either developing in-house or sourcing the latest e-powertrain and parts technologies have all contributed towards the sector’s growth.
Cumulative retail sales of electric vehicles in India, since calendar year 2014, total 25,43,713 units till end-May 2023.
Ten-year retail sales from Vahan reveals that six-figure sales in a calendar year (see data table above) were first achieved in 2018 (130,248 units), growing 49% YoY. CY2019 saw EV retails grow 28% to 166,818 units but the gains were nullified the next year, falling 25% in CY2020 to 124,629 units as the Covid pandemic necessitated lockdowns and travel was not deemed a priority other than for essential operations. With the country emerging out of the Covid challenge and vehicle buying back on people’s radar, the EV industry was back in the black in CY2021.
CY2021 saw the return of demand and EV sales rose by 166% to 331,376 units. However, the big increase came in CY2022 when the Indian EV industry crossed the million-units milestone, notching 209% growth. CY2023 bids fair to be a good year too with sales of 618,860 units in the January-May period already 60% of CY2022’s record retails. However, it remains to be seen if the recent reduction in FAME II subsidy for e-two-wheelers and the resultant 15-20% price hike will dampen demand in the segment, which accounts for the bulk of EV sales.
Two- and three-wheeler sales power growth
Delving into near-decadal data of EVs retails reveals that a total of 1.25 million electric two-wheelers have been sold in the past nine-and-a-half years, accounting for 49.46% of total EV sales between CY2014 and end-May 2023. The next-biggest contributor is the other ‘low-hanging fruit’ – e-three-wheelers with 1.17 million units and a 46.23% share.
A close look at the comparative sales tables of the four EV sub-segment shows that between 2014 and 2020, sales of e-three-wheelers (469,731 units) outstripped e-two-wheelers (82,635 units) massively. CY2021 seemed to be a leveller with three-wheelers (158,091 units) just 1,903 units ahead of e-scooters and bikes. However, since 2022, the charge of the e-two-wheeler brigade has left its three-wheeler siblings behind.
Compared to the more affordable two- and three-wheelers, sales of more expensive electric passenger vehicles were understandably much fewer. As per Vahan data, since FY2014, a total of 92,758 electric cars, SUVs and MPVs have been sold till end-May 2023 – that’s 3.65% of cumulative EV sales in India The remaining less-than-1% share of the 100% EV pie is carved between electric buses and cargo carriers (light, medium and heavy).
Of the overall 2.5 million EVs sold since CY2014, 19,70,038 units or 77.44% have come in the past 29 months – between CY2021 and end-May 2023
Sales speed from CY2021 onwards
Of the overall 2.5 million EVs sold, 19,70,038 units or 77.44% of total sales have come in the past 29 months – between CY2021 and end-May 2023 – indicating the fast-increasing pace of electric mobility adoption particularly in the two- and three-wheeler segments. And, the electric car and SUV industry is currently witnessing strong and sustained increase in demand.
A close look at the past two-and-a-half calendar year sales data reveals that 11,75,667 e-two-wheelers were sold – that’s 59% of total EV sales since CY2021. Electric three-wheelers, with 706,440 units, account for a 35.85% share while 81,631 electric passenger vehicles, comprising a 4.14% share of the India EV pie, were sold between CY2021 and end-May 2023. Buses and goods carriers make up the remaining one percent of EV sales.
As per SIAM industry data, a total of 2,07,52,305 or 20.75 million vehicles across the two- and three-wheeler, passenger vehicle commercial vehicle segments in CY2022. The 10,24,312 EVs sold last calendar year represent a 4.93% share of the automobile market. This is a considerable improvement over the 1.78% share EVs had in CY2021 with 331,376 units from the overall 1,85,58,189 units India Auto Inc sold two years ago. With EV sales in the first five months of CY2023 already 60% of CY2022, this year bids fair to scale a new high when it comes to electric mobility.
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