MoRTH allows electric two- and three-wheelers to be sold without batteries to lower upfront cost

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 12 Aug 2020

The electric vehicle industry may finally get a new charge in India, with a slew of announcements made by state and central government to enable higher adoption of electric vehicles. In a slew of announcements heard in the last few days, the latest one comes from the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) that aims to lower the upfront cost of the electric two- and three-wheelers.

In what may seem to be a necessary-step towards achieving the goal of electrification, the road transport ministry has allowed electric two- and three-wheelers to be sold without batteries and registered based on the type approval certificate issued by the Testing agency.

Furthermore, there will be no need to specify the make/type or any other details of the battery for the purpose of vehicle registration. This effectively means, OEMs can look at introducing battery swap model or energy as a service model.

MoRTH states that it was brought to its notice to delink the cost of battery (which accounts for 30-40% of total cost) from the vehicle cost. As part of its endeavour to support such a move, the ministry’s attention was also draw to Form -22 (road worthiness certificate issued by OEM), Form 22-A (road worthiness certification issued for vehicles where fabrication of the body is done separately), required for the registration of motor vehicles under Rule 47.

Industry lauds policy decision
Naveen Munjal, MD, Hero Electric said: “The policy is a welcome move. I am excited about the possibilities that exist in making EVs accessible to every individual in the country. All we need is a combination of such pioneering policies for it to work for us as per plan in the long-run will work in the long term. For this to take off and be able to efficiently pass on the benefit to the consumer, we ought to work towards a strong infrastructure that allows EV owners to charge and swapping batteries wherever they require. I look forward to more such positive interventions.”

Ampere Electric, a leading manufacturer or electric two- and three-wheelers stated: "Government's move to allow the sale and registration of electric vehicles without batteries is encouraging. This will reduce the cost of acquisition of EV especially for two-, three-wheelers and allow more and more people to shift from traditional to a more sustainable and affordable green mobility solutions for last mile connectivity. With increased pollution levels due to rapid rise in vehicles on the road, clean and environment-friendly mobility solutions like EV are the need of hour and this conducive policy will further strengthen the EV ecosystem."

Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder, Ather Energy: “MoRTH's new policy is a great move for both customers and OEMs. It lowers the upfront cost that the consumer has to pay and allows OEMs to build superior products at an affordable price point. Ather has been proactively experimenting with different sales and ownership models and the new policy opens up new opportunities in financing options. Based on our learning, it will likely take some time for consumers to understand and adopt this model of ownership, but in the long run it will be a big boost to the Indian EV industry. It will also make it easier for new players to join the industry. With BS-VI increasing petrol scooter prices, we expect consumers to shift to electric scooters, which offer great performance, in the months to come.”

Jeetender Sharma, MD and founder, Okinawa: “It is a motivation to see the government working towards accelerating adoption of electric mobility. The policy now allows selling electric vehicles without batteries. This widens the scope for manufacturers and buyers both. We are swiftly adopting the much-needed flexibility and comfort in the EV ecosystem. Tax rebates will help drive the demand better. This is also expected to reduce the overall cost of acquisition of the product by saving amount in the vehicle registration procedure, thus offering affordability. We look forward to more such industry boosting policies."

Mahindra Electric questions move
Sharing his concern, Mahesh Babu, MD and CEO, Mahindra Electric said: “No country in the world allows registration of EV’s without battery. We will explain the government that this notification has created confusion. Up to the sale of the vehicle the OEM is responsibility of the safety of the vehicle. A vehicle that is tested, manufactured and sold as an integrated vehicle and the OEM is responsible for the warranty. Either charging or swapping is post sale charge replenishing methods.  Both can exist in current framework.  This move has not been thought through and the industry has not been consulted.”

Also read: Delhi notifies EV policy, targets 500,000 EVs by 2024, announces scrappage benefits

Telangana announces EV policy, targets Rs 23,000 crore investment by 2030

Andhra Pradesh’s EV policy targets investment of Rs 30,000 crore by 2030

Maharashtra wants to be a major EV hub too, renews approach to be investors’ favourite

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