In India, BEVs Are Starting To Take Off

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Although most vehicular traffic in India is two- and three-wheeled, it is still exciting to see the numbers of four-wheeled personal vehicles going electric on India’s roads. India is an economic force to be reckoned with, even though the promise of Chindia in the ’90s has not come to pass. Prime Minister Modi is on record as stating that the Indian economy will soon to be the third largest in the world behind US/China and ahead of Japan (announced in a speech to a student body, reported on Indian news outlet SBS).

Auto Punditz has just released the 2022 figures and they are encouraging.

Highlights

  • 2022 registered the highest-ever BEV sales of 48,262 units, with 229% volume growth over 2021
  • October 2022 was the best sales month with 5,113 units sold
  • Tata Motors commands 86% of the Indian BEV market share, followed by MG with 9%
  • Tata Nexon EV (29,149) is the best-selling product, followed by Tata Tigor EV (11,890)
  • Availability of competitive BEV products and high conventional-fuel prices are the major BEV market drivers in 2022 insert web address here.”

Indian mass market BEV volume has grown from 1,230 in 2018, to 2,019 in 2019, to 4,774 in 2020, to 14,690 in 2021, and now to 48,262 in 2022. The Indian BEV market is being encouraged by the production of competitively priced products produced mainly by Tata and MG while the high price of fossil fuels dampens ICE sales.

India BEV
Graph courtesy of Auto Punditz

India imports 82% of its oil needs and aims to bring that down to 67% by 2022 by replacing it with local hydrocarbon exploration, renewable energy and indigenous ethanol fuel. India was the second top net crude oil (including crude oil products) importer of 205.3 Mt in 2019,” Wikipedia writes. “India is the third largest consumer of crude oil in the world, after the United States and China.”

Going electric will not only be good for the environment, but also for the economy, not to mention the health of the people.

“India’s entire population, 1.4 billion people, is exposed to unhealthy levels of ambient PM 2.5 — fine particulate matter emitted by factories and cars, among other sources. As of December 8, 2022, government data rated more than sixty cities in India with ‘poor,’ ‘very poor,’ or ‘severe’ air quality,” Think Global Health writes.

Delhi, with a population of 25 million, “has high traffic — it is leaping and growing in bounds. We have very, very dense vehicular traffic. There has to be a shift in the transportation strategies in all of our cities. In Delhi and other metro areas with dense vehicular traffic, there is a certain amount of contamination of gasoline with kerosene. It happens largely because of the gas pricing policies. People need economic incentives to use clean fuel.”

October 2022 saw BEV sales reach a peak of 5,113. Unfortunately, Q4 then saw a fall in sales. This is the seasonal norm. 73% of BEVs are SUVs and crossovers. The Tata Tigor is proving to be the most popular. In 2022, Tata introduced the Tiago EV, the first BEV hatchback, and BYD introduced the E6, the first BEV MPV.

India BEV
Graph courtesy of Auro Punditz.

You can read an October 2022 report on the Indian EV market for more historical perspective.

The Tata Nexon EV with dual battery pack option is the best-selling BEV in India, followed by the Tata Tigor EV. Tata BEV products are locally produced using imported battery cells. The Nexon EV Max had a high-water sales mark in June, 3,070 cars. Tata also sold almost 30,000 across its Nexon lineup, to take 60% of BEV market share. The Tigor is proving good value for money and has increased its sales 500%.

MG has about 10% of the BEV market. After a refresh, the complete knock-down MG ZS EV’s average sales settled around 361 units per month in 2022.

MG’s ZS EV market share decreased during 2022 due to the market expansion of Tata EV products, but the volume of product sold doubled.

India BEVS
Graph courtesy of Auto Punditz.

Although other manufacturers sell BEVs in India, the numbers are minuscule. Mahindra has the eVerito, Hyundai sells a few Konas, Kia has launched the EV6 as a premium vehicle, and BMW imports the iX SUV and the Mini SE.

Government subsidies for locally produced BEVs and high tariffs on imported BEVs create headwinds for the uptake of battery electric vehicles in India. This has stopped the importing of cheaper EVs from China and dissuaded Tesla from testing the market.

So far, it seems to be working for Tata, but we really need Mahindra to get some wind in its sails and start producing affordable EVs in volume.

As Indian consumers wake to the promise of clean air, quiet cities, and the BEV experience, we are likely to see an explosion in BEV sales. Hopefully they will follow the same trajectory as Australia. We were at around 2% just 12 months ago (India is currently at 1.3%), and in January 2023 we are heading for 6%. Hopefully India will follow the same trajectory as Australia.


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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 731 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth