Flurry of electric PV launches set to widen India market

A slew of electric vehicle models are lined up for launch in the next 12 months even as US-based Tesla and Fisker firm up their India entry plans. Mainstream and luxury manufacturers including BYD, Citroën, Kia, BMW, MercedesBenz, Volvo, Audi, Porsche and Jaguar-Land Rover plan to unveil as many as 21 new electric passenger vehicles (PV). This is expected to fuel growth of the domestic EV market and make electric cars accessible to a wider range of consumers.

Electric PVs still account for just 2.47% of total passenger vehicle sales, market researcher Jato Dynamics estimates. Tata Motors is making a big bet on the segment. “The EV contribution in our portfolio is likely to increase to 25% in five years and reach 50% by 2030,” the biggest player in the domestic electric PV market said in its report for 2022-23 (April-March).

The company increased its electric vehicle sales from 1,300 units to over 50,000 in three years and has the widest range of EV offerings including hatchbacks, sedans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

MG Motor is also targeting over 25% electric share in total car sales this fiscal, as it continues to enhance its product portfolio, said Gaurav Gupta, its deputy managing director. The SAIC Motor-owned automaker launched a high-end variant of its SUV ZS EV this month at Rs 27.89 lakh, after the April launch of the Comet EV at Rs 7.98 lakh.

“We are optimistic about further growth prospects following the monsoons, as India gears up for the upcoming festive season,” Gupta said. Currently, 13 manufacturers sell electric PVs in India, up from four in 2020. The likes of Maruti Suzuki, Toyota, Honda, Renault, Nissan, Volkswagen and Škoda Auto are yet to make an entry into the electric space. Meanwhile, two US automakers are knocking at India’s doors.

Elon Musk-led Tesla is understood to be working on plans to set up car and battery manufacturing facilities in India. The world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer is developing its next generation EV platform priced around $25,000 for multiple locations. California-based Fisker has also announced plans to produce 100 limited edition Ocean SUVs for the Indian market. The all-electric Fisker Ocean will be homologated, or certified for roadworthiness, for India by September, with deliveries to start by the last quarter of this year. Priced close to Rs 1 crore (including import duties), the Ocean will compete with other luxury makes such as the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace.

For India, the average retail price of electric cars is expected to remain high in the coming years, as premium EV buyers are often early adopters and are willing to cough up for being at the forefront of technology and sustainability. Manufacturers leverage this willingness to pay and set higher prices for premium EV models, said Ravi Bhatia, president at Jato Dynamics.

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