The sale of electric scooters is expected to bounce back from the temporary blip in the last three months, to more than double at 100,000 units per month by March next year, Tarun Mehta the co-founder and CEO of Ather Energy has said.
Spurred by strong incentives, high petrol prices and better availability of products in the market, electric scooter sales posted explosive growth between July 2021 and March 2022 with overall electric two-wheeler sales going up from 13,173 units in July 2021 to almost 50,000 units in March this year. Since then, however, sales have cooled off a bit on the back of supply chain constraints along with some impact of the spate of fire incidents in EVs that have dominated headlines since March.
With the supply chain issues now easing and the government stepping in with stricter regulations to curb instances of fire, Mehta of Ather Energy believes sales would again be on an upswing as the fundamental reasons for the growth of the industry remains as strong as ever.
“The industry is just warming up and there is an overabundance of energy and optimism. I am very bullish that over the next 12 months will not just catch up on those volumes, but the industry will likely double volumes. I would be surprised if next March, we (industry) are not doing more than 100,000 units per month. There is enormous opportunity, customers remain super keen because the cost works out, the ride quality is fantastic and the acceleration is amazing. They look better and advanced and electric looks like the obvious future.”
The strong growth in electric scooters comes on the back of a declining sales trend in petrol scooters, which fell nearly 50 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2023. Electric scooters now account for nearly 20 percent of all scooters sold in the country. The fire incidents have, however, dampened some of the enthusiasm around the story. The government is now working on fixing the regulations setting up multiple committees to look into all aspects of battery safety and has also issued show cause notices to the errant companies.
“A few mistakes will happen. The government should nudge the industry on the right path and customers should ask better, harder questions. Ultimately good companies will prevail,” Mehta added.
“It is a tough job as the government is not running design teams and is not an innovation hub. So it’s super hard for them to draw this line and tread carefully. But they can not do anything. They should take a harder look and ensure that people live up to what they’re promising–the processes they’ve promised, the suppliers they’ve committed to, the testing protocols for the cells should be lived up to with confirmation of production. These are elementary things the government must start enforcing a little bit more strongly. I think a few audit mechanisms here will go a long way, in keeping all of the industry honest.”