Lohia Auto expands electric 2w market, targets e-commerce, bike taxis

Lohia Auto zooms into electric two-wheeler market, targets e-commerce, bike taxi

By Shahkar Abidi and Amit Vijay M calendar 09 Feb 2024 Views icon4256 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Lohia Auto expands electric 2w market, targets e-commerce, bike taxis

Having established its presence in the e-3w market, Lohia Auto Industries is expanding into the e-two-wheeler space which will cater to commercial and personal mobility segments. 

"We see significant potential in electric two-wheelers, particularly for last-mile deliveries by e-commerce giants like Zomato, Swiggy, and Big Basket," said Ayush Lohia, CEO of Lohia Auto Industries. 

A part of the Rs 700 crore Lohia Global Group, Lohia Auto Industries currently offers L3 and L5 category electric three-wheelers for passenger and cargo transport, and also has low-speed electric two-wheelers. Manufacturing takes place at the integrated facility in Kashipur, Uttarakhand, with an annual capacity exceeding 100,000 units. 

The Indian electric three-wheeler market currently stands at around 3.5 lakh units per annum, according to Lohia. He anticipates a minimum growth rate of 10–15%, further boosted by regional expansion. "The potential is huge, and demand can reach 5–6 lakh units per annum," he says, adding that " two and and three-wheelers will be the first segments to witness a complete gasoline-to-electric transition." 

Autocar Professional reported on February 1, that the cumulative sales for the first 10 months of FY2024 were 723,982 units, up 26% YoY (April 2022–January 2023: 575,791 units). This is just 4,253 fewer units than the 728,235 units sold in FY2023. If the pace of sales is either maintained for the next two months or accelerates in March, FY2024 could see the electric two-wheeler market clock total retails in the region of 900,000 units, setting a new fiscal record and achieving 24% growth over FY2023.

Two-wheeled EV manufacturers are also benefiting from sustained demand for last-mile deliveries, which is acting as a sales catalyst for e-two-wheelers used for e-commerce and food deliveries. This is thanks to the key advantage stemming from TCO (total cost of ownership), particularly for fleet operators who clock plenty of kilometres each day. 

UM JV a closed chapter

Asked to comment on the company's previous joint venture with the US bike maker United Motors, which shut down in 2019, Lohia remarked that the R&D for it was handled by the foreign partner, and they were not able to meet the required standards. United Motors’ product portfolio in India included the Renegade Commando, Renegade Sport S, Renegade Mojave, and Renegade Classic, all American-styled cruiser motorcycles powered by the same 300-cc liquid-cooled engines.

Small players rule the roost

Acknowledging Lohia Auto Industries' current modest market share, Ayush Lohia emphasises the fragmented nature of the industry, dominated by small regional players. "We've recently launched new variants that are competitive and ready to face head-on challenges from these local players," he concludes.

Talking about the challenges faced by the EV industry, Lohia highlighted that there needs to be long-term clarity from the government on subsidies. Secondly, electric vehicles should be given the status of priority lending, which will mandate that banks offer loans for their purchase at lower interest rates. Also, there has been a delay in releasing a comprehensive battery-swapping policy, which has been pending for the past couple of years.

Talking about exports to other countries, Lohia explained that countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and African countries would require focus and support from the governments of those countries as well. He emphasised that without government support in those countries, it would be difficult to drive transition to electric vehicles, as they are still more expensive than vehicles that run on gasoline. 

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