India overtakes China as world’s largest market for electric three-wheelers

China and India, the world’s largest electric three-wheeler markets, accounted for nearly a million sales in CY2023 and 21% of the overall global three-wheeler market. While e3W retail sales jumped by 66% YoY in India to over 581,000 units, demand in China fell 8% to 320,000 units to make India the global e3W market leader.

By Ajit Dalvi calendar 07 May 2024 Views icon8947 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
India overtakes China as world’s largest market for electric three-wheelers

In yet another proof of India’s growing status in the automotive world, the country has overtaken China as the world’s largest electric three-wheeler market. The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its Global EV Outlook 2024 report, has revealed that India’s electric three-wheeler industry has overtaken China as the world’s largest market.

According to the IEA, the global and overall three-wheeler market grew by 13% in CY2023 to 4.5 million units. Of this, electric three-wheelers accounted for 21% – 945,000 e-three-wheelers – compared to 18% in CY2022 and recorded strong 30% year-on-year growth.

The Global EV Outlook is an annual publication that identifies and assesses recent developments in electric mobility across the world. It is developed with the support of members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).

Every second three-wheeler sold in India is now electric. In CY2023, 581,696 e-three-wheelers were sold, up 66% YoY. In comparison, e3W sales in China fell 8% YoY to 320,000 units, which makes India the e3W market leader. 

The two major global markets for electric three-wheelers are China and India, which together account for more than 95% of all electric and 80% of conventional three-wheelers (petrol, diesel, CNG). With over 581,000 electric three-wheelers retailed in CY2023 (see Vahan-sourced data table above), India recorded handsome 66% YoY growth and, as per IEA, raced ahead of China where sales declined 8% YoY to 320,000 units, making it the second-largest electric three-wheeler market in the world.

Interestingly, as per Vahan data, 350,238 e-three-wheelers were retailed in CY2022. Given the 8% YoY decline in CY2023, China's estimated CY2022 sales would have been 347,840 units, which means India just might have been the e-three-wheeler leader in CY2022. 

In CY2023, EV sales in India charged past 1.5 million units. After clocking a million units for the first time in CY2022, the shift to electric mobility picked up even more pace last with sales growing 46% to over 1.5 million units and all segments – two- and three-wheelers, cars and SUVs, goods vehicles and buses – recording stellar growth.

While the electric scooter and motorcycle segment was the topper in terms of sheer volumes (over 572,000 units), the rate of transition to zero-emission mobility remains the fastest in the three-wheeler market, where now every second product sold is an electric model. The e-three-wheeler category saw sustained YoY growth in each of the 12 months of CY2023, benefiting from the demand for last-mile mobility.

This e-three-wheeler sub-segment, which comprises passenger-transporting e-rickshaws and cargo-carrying three-wheelers in India, continues to witness strong double-digit growth thanks to sustained demand for passenger transportation and from last-mile operators for e-commerce applications, food deliveries and other applications. 

The e-three-wheeler industry has the maximum players of any vehicle category in India – nesrly 500 companies! Of them, only 13 have exceeded annual sales of 10,000 units each. These Top 13 OEMs, each with five-figure sales, cumulatively sold 270,403 units in 2023, effectively having a 46% share of the total e-three-wheeler market, leaving the remaining 54% of the market to the other 483 manufacturers to battle it out in the arena.

ALSO READ:  Electric 3-wheeler sales clock 66% growth in CY2023 to over 581,000 units

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