A look at key two-wheeler industry highlights of 2023

From Guinness World Record Holders to EV sales. Here's a roundup of the year that was.

By Soham Thakur, Autocar India calendar 28 Dec 2023 Views icon4722 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
 A look at key two-wheeler industry highlights of 2023

MotoGP came to India for the first time, EV sales hit new highs, Royal Enfield had a mega year, and at Autocar India, we set a new Guinness World Record. Here are key two-wheeler industry highlights from 2023, in no specific order.

Gogoro enters India

Gogoro, Taiwan’s largest electric two-wheeler manufacturer and battery swapping major, has taken its first step in India: entered into a contract manufacturing partnership with Tier 1 automotive component manufacturer – Metalman Auto – to produce a range of electric scooters in India.

Gogoro launched its battery swapping ecosystem in India and unveiled its first Indian-made Smart scooter, the CrossOver GX250, in 2023. The battery swapping system was immediately available to B2B customers in Delhi and Goa, while Mumbai and Pune will follow suit in mid-2024. Gogoro also signed a $2.5 billion (over Rs 20,000 crore) MoU with the Maharashtra government to build battery-swapping infrastructure in the state. The company has also partnered with Swiggy for food delivery services.

Guinness World Record Holders

Covering 1,780km on a Vida V1 Pro, Autocar India and Hero MotoCorp's electric two-wheeler arm Vida, rode into the Guinness World Records setting a new world record for the maximum distance covered by an e-scooter in 24 hours.

Six riders – three from Autocar India and three from Hero MotoCorp’s vehicle validation team –beat the previous Guinness World Records title by 350km. The previous record was set in October 2022 by an electric scooter made by the European company Seat. The number to beat was 1,430km and the Vida V1 Pro managed to beat that by a big margin, in the 19th hour of the run itself.

The new world record was set on Indian soil, at Hero MotoCorp’s Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT), Jaipur. The record was set on the high-speed bowl at CIT with the scooter running flat out the whole time, only stopping for battery swaps and rider changes. In fact, the Vida V1’s removable battery is what made this record attempt possible in the first place.

Electric two-wheelers get pricier

2023 saw electric two wheelers become expensive thanks to the FAME-II subsidy scheme being slashed. The cap for the incentive was brought down to 15 percent of the EV’s ex-factory price as against the 40 percent benefit extended earlier.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Heavy Industries revised the FAME-II subsidy amount to Rs 10,000 per kWh as against the earlier amount of Rs 15,000 per kWh. As a result, all electric two-wheeler manufacturers that were eligible for the FAME-II subsidy increased their product prices by approximately Rs 25,000-35,000.

The industry is keenly awaiting the future of the FAME-II outlay, which is scheduled to run out by March 2024. Things are uncertain at the moment, but there is talk that the Ministry is planning to increase the FAME-II subsidy outlay for the electric two-wheeler segment by Rs 1,500 crore-2,000 crore to sustain the growth momentum.

Royal Enfield’s mega year

Royal Enfield had a massive year in 2023, as the Chennai-based manufacturer launched multiple new motorcycles, showcased future models and made investments overseas.

RE’s biggest launch of the year was the all-new Himalayan, which debuted the manufacturer’s first liquid-cooled engine and brought in huge improvements over the outgoing version. The venerable Bullet nameplate also made a comeback, based on the Classic 350’s J-platform. The Super Meteor 650, which is the third model based on the 650cc platform, was also launched this year.

Along with these important launches, RE also unveiled the Shotgun 650 which is due for launch in January 2024 and at EICMA in Italy, it showcased its first ever electric model – the Him-E. In a bid to accelerate its move into the electric vehicle space, Eicher Motors, the parent company of Royal Enfield, also made an investment of €50 million (Rs 439 crore), translating to a 10.35 percent equity stake in European electric motorcycle manufacturer Stark Future SL.

MotoGP takes off in India

Despite some pre-event apprehensions, the first ever MotoGP race in India went ahead as planned and even impressed to an extent. Teams were pretty skeptical about the Buddh International Circuit heading into the race weekend, especially given that the circuit was still pending FIM homologation with just a handful of days to go. However, it was a very different story once the riders actually got some track time, but several of them even praised the track layout with its significant elevation changes.

It was not all rosy though. Fan attendance throughout the weekend left more to be desired and track itself could also do with some tiny tweaks, with riders pointing out some areas where the walls are a bit too close to the track. Furthermore, several key staff and even riders were affected by visa issues and there were also some instances where marshal action was not as prompt as one would hope for. But these are all areas that can be improved next year and we look forward to MotoGP in India in 2024.

EV sales scale new heights

2023 was a big year for electric two-wheeler sales in India. With sales of 7,83,128 units, EV two-wheelers accounted for 56 percent of total EV sales in India in the January-November 2023 period. This marks a 38 percent increase year-on-year and a 24 percent improvement over 2022’s total sales of 6,31,461 units; December figures are yet to be added to the tally as we go into print. Expect the industry to surpass the 8,50,000 units mark for this year and set a new benchmark.

Market leader Ola Electric benefitted from its refreshed S1 series of e-scooters, and it currently commands a 30 percent market share. The company has sold a record 2,36,485 units in the first 11 months of 2023, averaging 21,498 units a month. In fact, by December 21, 2023, Ola had sold over 2.5 lakh units, making it the first EV company to do so. TVS, with 1,53,964 unit sales, has a 19.66 percent share of the EV pie with just a single product – the iQube. Even Bengaluru-based e-scooter maker Ather Energy crossed 2 lakh cumulative sales milestone, which gives it a 12.50 percent share.

Also See:

Automotive headlines that defined 2023

 

Tags: two-wheelers
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